The threat of a double-dip recession means that job prospects are looking “increasingly bleak” in certain parts of the UK, sparking fears of a new North-South divide.
A report from recruitment firm Manpower shows that the recruitment recovery has stalled, with the North of the country making more cuts and recruiting less staff than the South.
The survey, which quizzed 2,100 UK employers about whether or not they intended to hire additional workers in the next three months, found a line across the country from Bristol in the South-West to the Humber in the North-East, with the worst recruitment conditions reported above the divide.
Below this line, the number of firms intending to recruit more staff outnumbered those planning to axe jobs by 6%. Above it, those planning cuts were 2% greater than those hoping to recruit.
Manpower managing director Mark Cahill commented that divides were also apparent in different sectors, with a virtual collapse of hiring in banking.
“Six months ago, it looked like the banks were going to lead the way out of recession and could even have filled the hole created by the slowdown in the public sector,” Cahill explained. “The finance sector was hiring like nobody’s business; it was consistently the most optimistic sector post-recession but this has now fallen away quite dramatically over the summer.”
Utilities was the most positive sector, with employers in the water, gas and electricity industries reporting hiring intentions of +10%. However, Cahill explained that employers in this sector were still facing difficulties when hiring staff.
“Not only in Utilities but elsewhere, employers are continuing to see a mismatch in skills where they’re either in the wrong geographical location or not available. There are severe skills shortages remaining in engineering and specialist IT sectors.”