SW bottom of the jobs leader board

The South West jobs Outlook has dropped nine percentage points on the last quarter according to Manpower, the world’s workforce experts. At +1%, hiring intentions in the South West are at their lowest level in more than a year and the weakest in the country (alongside Yorkshire and Humberside).

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from 2,110 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 statistic by both the Bank of England and the UK government.

“The Outlook for the South West has taken a tumble this quarter, as the volume of roles coming on to the market slows substantially,” says Krissie Davies, Operations Director at Manpower. “However, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that while the overall Outlook in the South West has dropped off since the last quarter; those with the right skills are finding opportunities”.

“Plymouth is experiencing a mix of activity with engineering, warehouse and administrative roles picking up on the temporary side. In the permanent market, we’re seeing two major problems: fewer positions opening up and fewer candidates with the skills needed to fill the shrinking number of vacancies. Adding to the challenge, employers are becoming increasingly demanding and only want to see the very top performers.”

“The skills gap is also being felt in Exeter and Bristol, with technical and business support expertise in particularly short supply, meaning employers face real issues in securing the right talent. One of the key trends we’re seeing in Exeter is a very low level of applications, as candidates are noticeably more discerning in the roles they apply for and the offers they accept. This is also an issue for Bristol’s call centres, as candidates are now approaching the jobs market with confidence and a good understanding of their value.”

Manpower today warns that a British exit from the European Union could leave businesses facing a critical talent shortage, with EU workers no longer able to move freely to the UK. The national seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook has fallen 1% for the second successive quarter to +5%. This second successive fall shows that, while there is still a strong requirement for new workers, overall businesses’ hiring intentions appear to have been hit by Brexit uncertainty.

James Hick, ‎ManpowerGroup Solutions Managing Director: “Employment in the UK is at an all-time high, but British businesses continue to create more jobs. Britain added 404,000 jobs in the last 12 months alone, and despite the uncertainties of Brexit, employers tell us they still need more workers. Make no mistake about the vital contribution EU workers make to Britain. There are currently 2.2m people from the EU working in the UK, but not all of them will stay here in the long term and we need the opportunity to replace the skills they bring. Britain today is a magnet for international talent, from finance to tech to the NHS. Leaving the EU will make it much more difficult to attract the brightest and best. It will mean more bureaucracy for those coming to Britain and salaries could be less competitive, especially if sterling falls, as many warn it could – including the Bank of England. To compete on the world stage British businesses need the flexibility and free movement that EU membership brings.”

For the second successive quarter every region of the country reports a positive Outlook. The West Midlands and Wales are the most positive regions (+11%) followed by the North East (+10%) and the East and East Midlands (both +9%). Outside the North East, the Northern Powerhouse has struggled with the North West matching the national average (+5%) and Yorkshire & Humberside reporting the joint least optimistic Outlook of the country (+1%). Optimism across the South of England has fallen, with London down two points to +7% and the South East down one point to +3. Scotland (+3%) and Northern Ireland (+5%) record falls of three and two points respectively.