BOSSES in six out of nine sectors report a fall in jobs optimism as new employment research suggest the UK jobs market is about to become trickier.
Finance, construction and utilities, considered bellwether sectors, all fell four points in the ManpowerGroup’s Net Employment Outlook survey. The services sector is the UK’s dominant industry sector, accounting for three-quarters of the UK economy.
Employment has remained buoyant in the past three months, despite the UK’s decision to leave the European Union and the predictions that Brexit would lead to a slump. But ManpowerGroup is warning that this could all change soon.
The survey, carried out in the weeks after the referendum, showed that while UK job prospects up, the outlook has dimmed somewhat.
“After the initial shock of Brexit, we’re entering a new phase of prolonged economic uncertainty. The future of freedom of movement across the EU is of particular concern. As UK businesses are reliant on European talent to help fill the skills gap, we urge the government to prioritise maintaining the free movement of people across the EU during its negotiations. This would make sure the UK remains competitive, while sending a powerful message to skilled jobseekers– Britain remains open for business,” said Mark Cahill, ManpowerGroup UK managing director.
Prime minister Theresa May has yet to define the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU or whether EU citizens living and working in the UK will be allowed to remain. On Monday home secretary Amber Rudd said work permits are among the post-Brexit migration curbs currently under consideration. EU nations could also choose to impose new restrictions, including requiring Britons to apply for permission to travel, which would further complicate work and travel for British employers.
Manufacturing fell two points despite the weak pound and now sits at +4% – its weakest level in three years.
“Many finance operations in the City of London depend on the EU ‘banking passport’ and the fall in hiring intentions could reflect pessimism over the future of this agreement. We’ve already seen London’s competitors like Paris and Frankfurt making overtures to the City’s big finance firms. In addition, we’ve seen an 800% rise in applications for finance positions in Dublin since the Brexit vote,” Cahill said.
The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, based on responses from 2,102 UK employers, looks at whether employers plan to hire or cut their workforce in the coming quarter. It is one of the economic statistics used by both the Bank of England and the UK government.