Employers in the North East are upbeat about hiring, despite concerns about the outcome of Brexit negotiations, according to ManpowerGroup.
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.
Amanda White, head of specialist markets for Manpower, said: “The North East is proving to be a green shoot of optimism against the downbeat national outlook for employment intentions, with the region reporting a four-point increase in its MEOS score. Few employers are talking about or planning for Brexit yet, perhaps because we have seen little impact on the number of EU workers in the region. In Newcastle there is a need for more employees in the public sector, particularly in education and the NHS”
Nationally, employers have recorded a slump in optimism with a national Outlook of +4%, the lowest level since 2012. Downbeat hiring intentions in sectors such as finance and business services and the public sector have both weighed heavily on the national picture this quarter.
James Hick, managing director for ManpowerGroup Solutions, said: “The national Outlook hasn’t dipped below +5% since the final quarter of 2012, yet this quarter we are seeing the worrying double whammy of a fall in confidence nationwide and flatlining hiring in London. This makes for a pretty bleak midwinter considering it comes at a time when Brexit talks are on a knife-edge. It will no doubt prompt fears that our high-flying jobs market might be cooling off.”
However, Brexit fears have actually boosted the transport sector by 10 points, to +12%, as employers “stockpile” permanent employees to avoid the pressure of a Brexit exodus on an aging workforce.
Elsewhere in the regions, the concentration of Transport and Haulage jobs in the “golden triangle” of Northampton, Milton Keynes and Daventry has helped propel the West Midlands and East Midlands to the top of the regional table with Outlooks of +12% and +11% respectively. This positivity radiates to Yorkshire and the Humber, which has built on a positive 2017 and is up one point to +8%. The North East and North West have seen contrasting fortunes this quarter. While the North East is up four points to +6%, the North West is down to +3%, a two-point quarterly fall.