UK jobs market begins 2016 on a high

2016 has begun with UK employers more optimistic than at any time in 2015, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

At +7%, the Net Employment Outlook for the first quarter of 2016 has jumped two percentage points compared to the end of 2015.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from 2,102 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 upbeat national picture is being fueled by Britain’s booming business and finance services sector, and high tech areas such as cyber security.

Recent high profile data breaches have created a surge in demand for cyber security experts.

Mark Cahill, ManpowerGroup UK Managing Director, said: “There are millions of cyber-attacks every day with a total cost to the global economy of up to $575 billion a year. Companies have to invest heavily to protect themselves and they now believe that cyber breaches are inevitable, with their focus moving to responding to attacks rather than just prevention.

“The UK Government recently announced that it would increase spending on cyber security to nearly £2 billion by 2020. Although this will include improving the level of teaching cyber skills at schools that will equip the next generation with the right skillset, there is a pressing demand right now.

“The shortage of people with the required skills means salaries for this new breed of specialists are vast. Some individuals can command daily rates in excess of £3,000, and some top cyber security specialists can even earn five-figure sums daily. With the potential risk to companies so significant and no signs of demand falling, those sky high salaries look set to continue.”

Uncertainties ahead

Despite the positive national picture in Q1 2016, employers face significant uncertainties later in the year ahead.

Mark continues: “The introduction of the National Living Wage in April 2016 is set to send shockwaves through the UK jobs market, especially in generally lower paid sectors such as retail, hospitality and social care.

“Many employers are still working out how much the national living wage will cost them – and how they are going to pay for it – and the picture that will emerge over the coming months may not be all rosy. This is combined with looming uncertainty over the timing and outcome of Britain’s EU referendum.

“The General Election had the effect of pausing the uptick in employment in April and early May and ManpowerGroup expects referendum uncertainty to have an even more dramatic impact.”

Global recovery

Of the nearly 59,000 employers interviewed across 42 countries and territories as part of the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, employers anticipate an increase in staffing levels in 39 countries.

Commenting on the global outlook, Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup CEO, said: “Economic growth expectations have come down in some global markets, but in many cases are consistent with hiring outlooks last year.

“The strength of the global recovery will continue to be uneven, particularly for some countries in Asia, Latin America and Europe. Companies we speak with intend to make their organisations more agile and able to deliver value in shorter timeframes, as they adjust to cycles or disruptive changes within their industries.”