UK businesses to retain jobs despite economic gloom

Good news about the UK job market: hiring remains steady over the summer months and employers are not planning to make redundancies for the rest of the year, new research revealed.

In our third consecutive period of negative growth, the majority of UK businesses are quite happy with their staff situation. Some 81 per cent are not planning to make redundancies for the remainder of 2012, according to a survey of 900 UK businesses by Right Management.

Just four per cent are expecting significant employee cutbacks. A quarter even stated that HR plays little or no role in their business strategy.

At the same time, new job opportunities seem to be staying steady over the summer months. The financial market expects a two per cent drop in the number of jobs available, from 2,630 in June down to 2,583 in July, according to Morgan McKinley’s London Employment Monitor. Compared to the 4,977 job vacancies in July 2011, this is a decrease of 48 per cent.

“During the summer months we typically see the entire recruitment market slow down with fewer jobs being released and job seeker numbers declining,” said Andrew Evans, COO at Morgan McKinley Financial Services.

“With the UK remaining in recession throughout Q2, we wouldn’t expect this pattern to change. However, a two per cent drop could be viewed as a stabilisation in the market, all things considered. Last year, we saw financial services job opportunities fall month-on-month at this time by ten per cent.”

That’s good news, but it’s time to stay cautious: forecasts for the rest of Q3 might not look so bright. The number of opportunities is still significantly low, and hiring in London is clouded by continuing shifts in the global economy.

“Insight from other key financial services markets in which we operate – Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Shanghai – indicates that lower numbers of job availability is the same on a global level,” said Evans.

“Employers, particularly within European banks located in Asia Pacific markets, are feeling the effects of financial turmoil in Europe, which in turn is having an impact on their hiring – exactly as we have seen in London over the course of this year.”

“Companies appear to be staying resilient in the face of tough economic conditions and retaining staff, which is reassuring,” says David Miller, MD of Right Management UK & Ireland.

“However, this may be due to many companies having already made cuts and now operating in a stretched capacity. So while it is concerning to see the majority surveyed stating they lacked a workforce strategy, in our experience many companies are being more agile about how they use their people’s skills and knowledge, but just don’t recognise this as workforce planning.”

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