Latest job figures highlight optimism among employers

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New job opportunities have risen to their highest level for almost two years and employer demand for new staff is 20% higher than at the same time last year, according to figures published today.

The figures, taken from November 2011 and released in the latest monthly Reed Job Index, contrast with ongoing gloomy economic forecasts and suggest an optimism among recruiters.

The growth continues the upward trend highlighted in Reed’s figures from October, and marks the highest level of job opportunities recorded by the Reed Job Index since it began in December 2009.

Reed says that the growth in new jobs has been led by London, the South-East and the North-West, and job growth has been recorded in more than half of the UK areas analysed. However, growth has not been seen across all areas of the UK, with five out of the 12 areas tracked by the index – including Wales, Scotland and the North-East of England – recording falls in employer demand in November.

The figures highlight an increase in employer demand across a range of sectors, led by technical roles such as engineering and IT alongside service sector roles such as accountancy, leisure and tourism. Unsurprisingly, this contrasts with public sector activity, which has fallen by 5% month on month.

The Reed Job Index tracks the number of new job opportunities and the salaries on offer each month against a baseline of 100 set in December 2009. The number of jobs recorded by the index increased from 119,426 in October to 122,986 in November 2011, 20% up from the 102,952 jobs in November 2010, and an increase of 33% from when the index began in December 2009 with 90,836 jobs.

James Reed, chairman of Reed Global, commented on the Reed Job Index for November: “The latest Reed Job Index shows that confidence about the future has continued to increase right across the private sector, in spite of last week’s gloomy economic pronouncements. Not only is employer demand up by 20% year on year, newly available private sector jobs are at their highest level since the dark days which followed the last banking crisis. There are even signs that the British economy is rebalancing towards the industrial sector, with demand for technical staff such as engineering and IT specialists 90% higher now than when our index began 23 months ago.

“Caution remains, with salaries for new jobs staying low, and growth more patchy outside the regional powerhouses of London, the South-East and North-West. Only fools forecast, and increasing turmoil in the Eurozone makes us all wary of plotting a clear path forwards. At the same time, the Reed Job Index has proved to be a reliable leading economic indicator, and certainly demonstrates that the underlying appetite for growth across the private sector is at a higher level than some commentators believe.”

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