HR jobs market jumps by 14% in February

The HR jobs market has continued to show strong growth as the number of vacancies advertised online increased by 14% in the past month.

The Monster Employment Index found the number of HR jobs advertised online rose by 14% (10 points) from 69 in January to 79 points in February – on a scale where 100 is the baseline.

This rise in February led to a year-on-year increase of 10% (7 points).

The Index for all sectors recovered from a slight dip recorded in January, rising by 12% (13 points) in February to reach 124.

This was the highest level of overall job availability since December 2008 and a 6% improvement on February 2009.

Jonathan Der, economic researcher at Monster Worldwide, told Personnel Today “rock bottom is in the past” for the HR sector.

He said: “Given the nationwide cuts in employment in late 2008 and into 2009, it makes sense that demand for HR services was reduced, and likewise HR sector job availability disappeared.

“The new signs this year of job availability in the sector suggest that demand for HR services nationwide has risen, in line with the somewhat improved economic picture for the country.

“It appears that rock bottom is in the past. The lowest level for the HR sector in the Index was 52, seen in January 2009, and lingered around 56 throughout the springtime.”

But he warned that it was difficult to say whether the Index for February was the start of a sustained upswing.

“The three-month moving average is certainly encouraging, but it is possible this is a one-time uptick and that the levels seen now will be the ‘new normal’ for the sector until the national economy shifts into a higher gear,” he said.

Der added that the UK economy remains on a tenuous track.

The IT sector saw the fastest rate of growth, up 19% (15 points) on January’s figures, reaching an Index of 92, and up 8% (7 points) on the year.

But in contrast to the IT sector, other highly technical sectors, including research and development and engineering, saw annual declines of 26% and 24% respectively.

The public sector, defence, and community also saw a steep monthly decline, dropping 12% (14 points) to 103.

Der said it was too early to say whether this is the beginning of a larger sea-change in recruitment for the public sector, as it could just be a correction on January’s figures.

“Year-on-year, the public sector is down by only 1% in the Index, so the latest month decrease might just be a correction for unusually elevated recruitment in January,” he said.


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