HR departments face the challenge of hiring new staff while simultaneously laying-off existing employees, according to research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
While 53 per cent of companies expect to be hiring more staff this year, nearly a quarter are planning redundancies, according to the CIPD's first quarterly HR Trends and Indicators survey of 2,000 employees in all sectors and regions of the UK.
Manufacturing companies are the most likely to make redundancies, with a third expecting to cut staff numbers by 5 per cent or more. The strongest recruitment drives are in public administration and finance.
John Philpott, chief economist at the CIPD, said: "The expectation of strengthening economic recovery in 2004 is clearly making many organisations more optimistic about job prospects.
"These figures remain consistent with the CIPD's current expectation that total UK employment levels will rise by around a quarter of a million this year. However, manufacturing is a major exception, though job losses in the sector are consistent with recovery as employers restructure to boost competitiveness," he said.
The main reasons given for making redundancies included reorganising work methods (31 per cent) and competitiveness, efficiency and cost reduction (21 per cent).
By Lindsay Clark