LONDON: Employers in Britain are planning to take on new workers over coming months despite looming Brexit negotiations and slower economic growth, according to a survey.
A poll of 2,109 employers by recruitment agency ManpowerGroup found that a net balance of 5 percent were planning to increase staff levels rather than cut them over the July-to-September quarter. That was unchanged from the previous poll three months ago but down slightly from a +7 percent reading at the end of 2016 when the UK economy was still growing strongly, reports The Guardian.
Since the start of this year, the economy has lost steam as consumers have cut back on spending amid rising cost pressures. The pound’s sharp fall since the Brexit vote has made imports more expensive and official figures due on Tuesday are expected to show that inflation held at its highest level for more than three years last month.
ManpowerGroup said employers were still intending to increase their workforces on average in the coming quarter, with employers most optimistic in Yorkshire and Humberside, the south-east and West Midlands.
“Employers have faced a triple whammy of uncertainty over the last few months – a snap election, the triggering of article 50, and weak economic data for the first half of 2017. You might have expected hiring confidence to have taken a real hit, but employers have been standing firm,” said James Hick, the managing director of ManpowerGroup Solutions.
The recruitment firm highlighted stark contrasts between sectors. Manufacturers were most optimistic about hiring but the outlook for the public sector was far gloomier, with a majority of employers looking to cut jobs.
The poll, conducted during campaigning for the snap general election, found a net balance of 7 percent of manufacturers expected to increase their workforce over the coming quarter. ManpowerGroup put some of the strength down to investment, citing plans by the maker of Dulux paint, AkzoNobel, to open a new plant in Ashington, Northumberland.