EMPLOYMENT prospects for the region are looking up after the latest survey by recruitment specialist Manpower, released today.
It said the net employment outlook for the North West increased by eight percentage points since the last quarter to +6% for the first quarter 2013.
The survey says this is the best outlook across the north of the UK, and is the region’s most optimistic outlook for three quarters.
The report is based on responses from 2,100 employers who were asked whether they intend to hire extra staff, or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming economic quarter.
It is used as a key economic statistic by both the Bank of England and the Government.
The national seasonally adjusted net employment outlook of +6% indicates that the jobs market looks twice as good as it was in the final quarter of 2012 when the outlook was +3%.
Greg Hollis, Manpower operations manager, said: “It is encouraging to see an uptick in hiring intentions in the region, following the negative outlook in the last quarter.
“Demand for sales, administrative and customer service candidates are helping to drive this recovery.
“In the private sector, the mis-selling of payment protection insurance continues to create opportunity in the financial services sector and there has been an increase in vacancies in the credit management field.
“There is also demand in the public sector, particularly in the Home Office and NHS.”
He added: “We’re also seeing an ageing of the skilled workforce in the region, creating lots of openings for new talent.
“But as always, candidates need to up-skill. Those with technical qualifications or the ability to speak a second language are being snapped up very quickly.”
Overall, the survey reveals a tide of positivity sweeping across parts of the UK, with no evidence of the North-South divide which has been a feature of the jobs market in recent years.
“The North East is positive at +4%, and both the East and West Midlands report healthy outlooks of +8%.
London and the South East remain upbeat at +5% and +7%, respectively, while the clear regional winner is the East of England recording an outlook of +11%.
Scotland is the only part of the UK which records a negative outlook, of -1%, with Northern Ireland flatlining at 0%.
The latest figures also show that employers of all sizes are looking to hire – large (+11%), small (+12%), medium-sized (+10%), and micro-sized businesses (+3%).
Manpower managing director Mark Cahill said: “The surge in optimism this quarter should also be seen in the context of a changing employment landscape.
“Undoubtedly, these are good figures and should bring some much needed Christmas cheer to the economy, but underlying this is a more complex picture.
“There has been a seismic shift in the nature of employment with many of the new roles created being temporary or part time positions.
“While workers can expect a lower risk of losing their job, the flipside of this is that there is now a higher risk of having to work reduced hours or seeing a wage cut in real terms.”
He said: “The message to jobseekers is clear: if you want to get ahead in the 2013 jobs market, you need to accept this as the new reality of the jobs market.”