Global employment survey finds UK job market still dropping but showing signs of levelling out

A quarterly survey of hiring and firing trends in over 30 key countries has found job prospects for professionals and managers in the UK better than the global average. The percentage of organisations here expecting to shed staff in the next three months is also substantially lower than the worldwide average, suggesting that the jobs market is at least beginning to level out.

The ‘Global Snapshot’ from the international recruitment firm, Antal, asked 4217 companies in major markets such as western and eastern Europe, Africa, India, China and the USA whether they were currently hiring at professional and managerial level. It then asked whether they planned to do so in the coming quarter and whether they were currently letting staff go or were planning to do so in the next three months. Current hiring across the globe was down from 54% of respondents at the beginning of the year to 47% now. However the percentage of organisations intending to hire in the coming quarter had actually risen from 43% to 44%.

In the UK 45% of businesses were currently recruiting but 51% expected to recruit in the coming quarter. However only 20% were in the process of reducing headcount and only 17% expected to do so over the next three months.

Elsewhere in Western Europe the employment situation was a variable one. In Switzerland, for example, only 20% of businesses were currently recruiting whilst in Malta 72% were currently hiring.

“Despite the fact that the UK economy shrank by nearly 2% in the first quarter of 2009 the Snapshot found a rise in the levels of hiring at professional and managerial level, up from a dismal 18% predicted in our last edition to as much as 45%,” says ? of Antal’s UK operation. “However this overall figure does seem to mask a very fractured and varied market with some sectors displaying robust good health whilst others are suffering. Hiring levels in the financial advisory area, for example, are very low at only 15%, whilst in the FMCG sector they reach as high as 64%. In the IT sector hiring levels are still relatively low, but the survey found that many companies had not had such a bad first quarter as they had expected and were becoming more optimistic about the second half of the year.

“Whilst the percentage of organisations hiring in the 32 countries surveyed has gone down, it has not plummeted in the way that the economic statistics, many pundits and the ever-cheerful IMF might have led us to believe,” says Antal’s global CEO, Tony Goodwin. “At the same time the percentage of organisations expecting to hire managers or professionals in the coming quarter has actually risen, albeit by a very modest 1%. And the number of businesses expecting to shed middle to senior level staff has remained almost exactly the same.”




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