Where are the jobs? Predictions for Q1 2022

2021 was the year of the “Great Resignation” with employees quitting their jobs at record rates. Labour shortages became widespread and employers scrambled to fill vacancies from a talent pool that is both smaller and more selective than prior to the pandemic. Looking ahead to 2022, we’re facing another quarter of record-high hiring intentions for the UK.

Each quarter, ManpowerGroup conducts the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey (MEOS). It’s the most extensive, forward-looking employment survey in the world, asking employers in over 40 countries to forecast their hiring intentions. In its 30th anniversary edition in the UK, we posed the following question to more than 2,000 employers: “How do you anticipate total employment at your location to change in the next three months as compared to the current quarter?”

The answer was optimistic, with all regions and industry sectors reporting a positive outlook for the first time since before the pandemic. In fact, the UK jobs outlook is at a 30-year high of +32%, up 2% since last quarter and up 30% since the same period last year. But which sectors and regions are seeing the greatest growth in job postings?

Digital roles are most in-demand in the UK

Growth is expected across all 11 industries surveyed nationally. IT, Technology, Telecoms, Communications and Media reported an incredible outlook of +49%, followed by Restaurants and Hotels (+47%) and Banking, Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (+44%).

For those hoping to secure a role in Manufacturing, Retail or Construction, the outlook is promising too (+38%, +36% and +31% respectively).

When it comes to business size, large and medium organisations are reporting the strongest hiring intentions in the first months of 2022, with 39% looking to increase their headcount. However, nearly a third (28%) of smaller organisations are also looking to hire, whilst 17% of micro-organisations – so those with less than 10 employees – plan to recruit more staff.

Back and booming – recruitment in the capital is on the rise

All regions are reporting a positive outlook for the first time since before the pandemic, with London in the lead. The capital reports the highest hiring intentions in the UK, with an Outlook of +42%, up a record +54% year-on-year.

This comes despite the capital dealing with multiple talent challenges; employees’ reluctance to move back into offices, instead preferring to work from home, EU nationals leaving the UK following Brexit, and a smaller workforce. The ongoing uncertainty of Covid puts even more pressure on employers to look for alternative ways to plug the skills gaps – namely upskilling and re-evaluating roles and responsibilities of their existing workforces.

Scotland and Northern Ireland both report high outlooks at +33%. And even the region reporting the lowest forecasted hiring intentions, Wales, is still showing positive hiring growth, expecting +18%.

The great shift to hybrid working: more employers embrace the blend of work and home

Whatever the sector, it’s safe to say that employers are open to more flexible work arrangements in 2022.

Finance, IT, HR and Admin employers are among those most likely to see the benefit of their staff working remotely full-time (between 15-17%), although around 50% in all these four sectors favour a hybrid working model with staff coming into the office 1-3 days per week and working from home/remotely the rest of the time. Other sectors are quickly catching on to this trend too, with more than half of Frontline Sales, Office and Customer-Facing employers intending to offer either remote or hybrid working.

And although 49% of Production and Manufacturing businesses expect their staff in the workplace all the time, 32% recognise the need for a hybrid model and a small percentage (9%) are contemplating offering full-time remote work to roles where this is possible.

Vaccine expectations vary

Employers in the UK have mixed opinions on the requirements for employee vaccines. For those who are returning to work onsite, 23% of employers are mandating that their employees are vaccinated. 31% urge vaccination by highlighting the benefits but won’t make it mandatory. Only 21% are leaving it completely up to individual workers to decide, and a small percentage (10%) are even considering offering incentives, such as cash bonuses to encourage their staff to get jabbed.



A prevailing breeze of optimism flows through the recruitment landscape. 2022 will be the year for workers – where those with the in-demand skills hold the power and have the freedom and flexibility to accept a job that suits their particular needs and expectations. Employers know flexibility is the key to attracting the right people in a tight labour market.

Manpower is here to help. Our recruiters help people make life-changing career moves every day. We’re powered by our purpose – to transform lives by helping people improve their skills, become more employable for the long-term, and achieve their career aspirations.

To browse and apply for one of our thousands of roles in over 30 sectors, take a look at our website, or get in touch with your local Manpower representative here.

To find out more about this quarter’s hiring outlook, download the Q1 2022 MEOS Report.