South East employers plan to end the year on a high recording the strongest hiring plans all year, according to ManpowerGroup, the world’s workforce experts. The balance of employers taking on more staff stands at +7% - above the national average of +4%.
The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from 2,100 UK employers. It asks whether employers intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter. It is the most comprehensive, forward-looking employment survey of its kind and is used as a key economic indicator by both the Bank of England and the UK Government.
Jason Greaves, director at ManpowerGroup said: “Employers have been cautious this year about their hiring needs but we’re now seeing a renewed confidence shape their plans. The end of the year will be the brightest period for job seekers all year. We’re seeing in increasing growth in both permanent and temporary roles. But with increased confidence comes concerns about how to find the people needed.
“We’re seeing growing demand from a range of businesses – and those candidates with the right mix of experience and enthusiasm will benefit. If you are a driver, have customer service or sales skills then you will in demand and many candidates are receiving multiple job offers. The end of the year has always seen strong demand for HGV drivers – and as the growth in home shopping increases this is also growing. This is reflected in higher pay and increased bonuses. There continues also to be a demand for those who speak more than one European language – this has always been the case but we are seeing this interest increasing.
“Employers need to act fast when there is less talent around – and also to think about the wider offer they can present candidates with. A competitive salary is important but so is training and career progression opportunities.”
In the other regions, Yorkshire and the Humber employers continue their optimistic upswing from the last quarter, with the Outlook increasing by three points to +11%. The East Midlands is equally optimistic, bouncing back from its slump last quarter to see a six-point increase - rounding out the most confident year for the region since 2015. Confidence in the North West and South West remains strong and steady at +9%. This contrasts with the East of England which sees a marginal increase to +3%, the lowest in the country, with London and the North East slightly more optimistic with both on +4%. South East employers are reporting an Outlook of +7%.
Employers in the utilities sectors are among the most optimistic this quarter with an Outlook of +12% - with an increase in Smart meters and construction of new energy infrastructure adding to this optimism. Agriculture employers (+14%) are the most likely to add to headcount in the three months to Christmas. Finance and business services employers (+5%) will increase staffing slightly in the last quarter of the year. And employers in the hotels and retail sector will also keep hiring with an Outlook of +5% - the leisure sector of hotels and restaurants being particularly buoyant at +11%.