Where are all the jobs? A Q3 2016 forecast

We know that understanding what’s coming next in the world of work is vital, if your business is to harness new opportunities and address the challenges that arise.

And yet, most employment studies and surveys are retrospective. They don’t look at what’s going to happen in the labour market, but on what’s already been and gone – but not us.

Every quarter, we interview around 2,100 UK employers about their hiring intentions for the next three months. We ask if they intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter. It’s not about what has happened already, but what’s to come, and it’s used as a key economic indicator by both the Bank of England and the UK government.

Insights from UK employers

Last week we released our insights for Q3 2016, and for the first time in over a decade, employers in the Construction sector are the most positive out of all of the sectors we interviewed. It’s quite a change of fortunes for an industry which was in negative territory just six months ago.

We’ve also found that recruitment prospects in the Transport sector are stronger than both last quarter and the same period of 2015. Seeing such positive hiring intentions is great news for the industry, but severe talent shortages are stalling progress. Employers in the Transport sector must collaborate further and work with the right partners, if they’re to identify top talent and fill vital vacancies.

Hiring intentions in the Energy sector are looking strong too, fuelled by government initiatives to install smart meters in Britain’s homes. Employers are on the hunt for new employees to support these systems – individuals who possess certain qualifications, and who can explain the benefits of this new technology and how to use it to customers. Finding these individuals, however, is difficult. To help overcome this shortage, businesses need to think about how to better engage, attract and train young people that have finished school, but are currently out of work.

At the other end of the scale, employment prospects are looking less rosy in the Retail, Wholesale and Hospitality sectors, reporting the biggest fall in hiring intentions for two years.

Positivity in every UK region

When looking at the results for each region of the UK, it’s great to see that for the second successive quarter, every region of the country reports a positive outlook. The West Midlands and Wales are the most positive regions, followed by the North East, East, and the East Midlands.

Outside the North East, the Northern Powerhouse has struggled, with Yorkshire & Humberside reporting the least optimistic Outlook of the country. Optimism is low across the South of England, with falling Outlooks in London, the South East, and the South West. Hiring intentions have dropped in Scotland and Northern Ireland too.

For the results from every region and sector, download the full Employment Outlook Survey.