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UK Economy
Manpower predicts UK hiring spree
From the Financial Times of Tue, 09 Dec 2014 00:02:21 GMT
Mark Cahill, ManpowerGroup’s UK managing director

Mark Cahill, ManpowerGroup’s UK managing director

Britain’s large companies plan to accelerate hiring in the new year, according to a survey by recruitment company ManpowerGroup.

The research suggests unemployment will continue to fall quickly in the next few months. Employers have hired many more people during the past year than economists had expected, though the flip side for the UK labour market has been anaemic wage growth and poor productivity.

The Office for Budget Responsibility last week predicted that hiring would slow next year and productivity would pick up gradually. However, it made the same prediction last year only to be confounded.

Manpower’s survey of about 2,100 companies showed a net balance of
7 per cent more groups planned to expand than contract their workforces in the first quarter of next year, a slightly higher figure than in the fourth quarter of this year. The net balance for large companies was 21 per cent, which Manpower said was the highest in a decade.

Companies in the utilities and construction sectors had the most bullish hiring plans. The northeast was the region with the brightest outlook, although Manpower suggested many of those jobs would be in call centres, where wages tended to be low.

There is mixed evidence on the prospects for a sustained recovery in real wages next year after their longest squeeze since records began. Last month, official figures showed average wage growth overtook inflation for the first time in five years, but only by a fraction.

However, some surveys, such as ones conducted by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, have been pointing to rapid growth in starting salaries in some sectors such as engineering and IT where employers report a shortage of skilled candidates.

“2015 will begin with employers in an even more confident position [than 2014] and we are optimistic about job prospects for the rest of the year,” said Mark Cahill, ManpowerGroup’s UK managing director. “Many big businesses built up large cash reserves in the downturn [and] now that confidence is returning they have money to invest in infrastructure and growing their businesses.”

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