No pre-Christmas hiring boom

2003

The UK is set to have the lowest results for employer hiring intentions in the pre-Christmas fourth quarter since 1993, according to a new report.

The Employment Outlook Survey from recruitment specialists Manpower provides a forecast of employer hiring intentions for October to December 2003. Its Net Employment Outlook shows that 12 per cent more employers are planning to take on staff than reduce tem.

But according to Manpower's Hazel Detsiny, "employers in the Hotel and Retail sector are reporting their lowest final quarter employer hiring intentions in the last 12 years, contributing significantly to the drop in job prospects in the UK.

"Q4 prospects are usually extremely buoyant due to increased hiring activity, which takes place over the Christmas period to help meet consumer demand. "

In London, a net nine per cent of companies intend to hire more staff, the lowest fourth-quarter reading for five years and a sign that the capital's jobs outlook remains precarious.

"It appears that the renewed optimism in the economy is not translating into as many jobs as in previous years," said Destiny. "However, despite this, the UK's job prospects are the strongest in Europe for the second quarter running."

The results for the Manufacturing sector were noticeably depressed, with only seven per cent more firms planning to expand their workforces rather than reduce staffing levels. The average Q4 figure for the sector is a full five percentage points higher.

Jobs fell in Manufacturing to an all time low of 3.5 million workers in the three months leading up to June 2003 highlighting the continued slump in the UK's manufacturing base.

While Employment Outlooks in Europe vary, the majority of countries reported positive Net increases. The UK showed the greatest optimism together with Sweden with a Net job Outlook of +12 per cent. By contrast, in Germany (-8 per cent) and Ireland (-4 per cent), a greater proportion of employers expected to decrease staffing levels than increase them.

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