UK job prospects look set to improve in the New Year, driven by an increase in confidence among the finance and business services sectors, according to the latest Employment Outlook Survey by recruitment firm Manpower.
London employers are predicting a sharp increase in their hiring plans while UK hiring intentions look to be one of the most optimistic of all the 12 European countries polled.
The report shows that the Net Employment Outlook for the period January-March 2006 is +9% – one percentage point higher than in the fourth quarter of 2005.
The survey of nearly 2,000 employers reveals that 18% of managers expect to add to their payroll, while 9% expect to reduce staff levels. When seasonal variations are removed from the data, the outlook improves to +13% – an increase of eight percentage points on the end of 2005.
Mark Cahill, managing director at Manpower, said: “It’s encouraging that the UK labour market is more optimistic than our European partners: France, Germany and Italy are all reporting flat or negative hiring intentions.”
The report shows that eight of the nine business sectors surveyed are reporting a positive employment outlook.
Jobs confidence is particularly notable in the finance and business services sector where 28% of employers are looking to take on more staff and just 8% are looking to reduce their payrolls.
Employers in London are notably confident with 29% of employers planning to take on staff and just 5% expecting to reduce their headcount – the strongest start to the year since 2001.
Of the 12 European countries surveyed, employers in the UK are the most optimistic when seasonal variations are removed from the data.
Employers in Ireland (+11%), Norway (+11%), Spain (+8%) and Belgium (+8%) are the most upbeat: employers in Germany (-4%), Austria (-2%) and Italy (-2%) all report negative hiring intentions.