Final-quarter hire predictions hit lowest levels in a decade

The UK’s employers are anticipating a 10-year low in job prospects during
the final quarter of this year, according to a major new survey of 2,500

Manpower’s Global Employment Outlook Survey shows 21 per cent of the UK’s
employers are expecting to take on more staff in the final quarter of the year,
while 9 per cent expect a reduction in job opportunities.

This gives a net employment outlook (NEO) figure of 12 per cent – a fall of
2 per cent on last year, and the lowest since 1993.

The study reveals the hotel and retail sectors predict a particularly poor
end to the year, reporting their lowest final-quarter hiring intentions for the
past 12 years, with an NEO of 7 per cent.

The predictions for the manufacturing sector are also noticeably depressed.
Just 16 per cent of employers in the sector expect to take on more staff, while
9 per cent are looking for cuts. This gives an NEO of 7 per cent – 5 per cent
down on 2002. The current prediction is the sector’s third-lowest
fourth-quarter result in 10 years and corresponds with Government figures which
show that manufacturing employment levels fell to an all- time low of 3.5
million workers in the three months leading up to June 2003.

Hazel Detsiny, a Manpower director, was surprised by the pessimism about the
employment rates.

"Quarter-four prospects are usually extremely buoyant due to the
increased hiring activity which takes place over the Christmas period to help
meet consumer demand," she said.

Although the UK’s employment prospects figures were lower than expected,
they were better than its European competitors, except for Sweden, which has an
NEO of 12 per cent.

By contrast, a greater proportion of employers are expecting to reduce their
staffing levels in Germany (NEO -8 per cent) and Ireland (NEO -4 per cent).

By Ben Willmott


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