Yorkshire and the Humber employers remain upbeat

Humber Bridge.

Yorkshire and the Humber employers remain upbeat

Despite national concerns surrounding the ongoing Brexit negotiations, employers in Yorkshire and the Humber are remaining upbeat about hiring.

Confidence is up one point to +8% for the quarter and the jobs market remains buoyant, according to a survey undertaken by 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.

It is one of the most comprehensive employment survey of its kind and is used as a key economic statistic by both the Bank of England and the UK government.

Amanda White, head of specialist markets for ManpowerGroup, said: “Employers in the region continue to buck the national trend, with an optimistic hiring outlook that builds on a positive 2017.

“Within the industrial sector, roles such as loaders, production operatives and drivers are in high demand, while in the public sector, opportunities are up for grabs in education and the NHS. Given this optimistic picture, employers now find they need to offer competitive pay rates to attract the best candidates.

“We are advising clients to look at non-pay employment perks to make themselves more competitive.”

“In Leeds, we have seen expansion in distribution centres. We find that job opportunities are also available to those based within commuter distance of the city if there are good motorway links.

“Employers in York are reporting steady employment demand in the hospitality sector, particularly in hotels and events, while Sheffield is creating good job opportunities in call centres for those with the relevant customer service skills.”

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: “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.”

“The Transport sector is a key outlier in the dreary national picture. With online purchases accounting for £2 in every £5 of spending over the festive period, there is an immediate pressing need for professional drivers.

“This quarter the driver shortage is more acute than ever, thanks to a shrinking pool of talent. Combined with the skyrocketing demand, it is driving up pay significantly – many companies are having to pay premiums of up to 20% on their standard rates for drivers.

“With so many EU workers employed in driving and logistics roles, employers are already mindful of the cliff edge scenario of exiting EU workers that may accompany Brexit.

“We are therefore seeing companies in the transport sector “stockpiling” drivers by signing them up for permanent contracts ahead of May 2019.”

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.

The North East and North West have seen contrasting fortunes. The North East is up four points to +6%, its most optimistic level since Q1, 2017. However, the North West is down to +3%, a two-point quarterly fall.

Hiring pessimism is particularly acute in London, where the Outlook has fallen three percentage points to 0%, and the wider South East, where the Outlook is just +3%. Conversely, Wales is riding high on +7%, its best start to a year since 2013 and four-point quarterly rise.

Despite a one point fall from last quarter, Scotland is slightly above the national outlook on +5%. After a strong end to 2017, the outlook in Northern Ireland has fallen three points so the region will begin 2018 in line with the national average of +4%.