Jobless recovery fears renewed as forecast shows recruitment slow

Fresh fears of a “jobless recovery” resurfaced today as a labour market survey forecast slim recruitment intentions for the second quarter of the year.

The Manpower Employment Outlook survey, based on 2,100 employers, showed just a 1% rise in hiring confidence for the upcoming quarter, up from 0% in the first three months of 2010. The figure is calculated by subtracting the number of employers who plan to cut staff from the number who plan to take on new employees.

The small rise is in stark contrast to the more positive data recorded by Monster Employment Index, also published today, which revealed that the number of jobs advertised online rose by 12% last month compared to Janaury.

Manpower’s managing director Mark Cahill said: “The UK’s emergence from recession is certainly positive news, but there is still unprecedented confusion in the labour market, with rising levels of people claiming benefits and static unemployment levels, too.”

The utilities sector emerged as the most positive for job creation intentions, at 6%, swiftly followed by those in the finance and business services industry, at 5%.

The transport and telecommunications sector was the hardest-hit sector at -7%.

The public sector follows the national trend, reporting a 1% hiring intention.

Cahill said: “This [public] sector remains the UK’s largest employer, and therefore the importance of having the best workplace solutions is critical.

“Job cuts may be the fastest route to short-term cost-cutting but implementing innovative workforce transformations, such as those seen in the private sector, will allow for recurring savings and flexibility in the long-term.”

He called for the public sector to find new ways of working to improve effiency and deliver frontline services in a more cost-effective way.

In the first quarter of 2009, the hiring intention recorded by all industries in the Manpower survey was -5%.

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