Two surveys of the jobs market suggest that demand for for staff held steady or even expanded last month, with small and medium-sized businesses especially optimistic about their prospects.
The latest review by the employment agency Reed found demand for new workers defied the usual slump over the summer season and stayed constant last month. Vacancies in some sectors rose to the highest levels seen this year, including leisure, tourism and accountancy, the agency said.
The public sector was less robust and offset the rise in private-sector recruitment. Nonetheless, it offered a small, hopeful early sign that the private sector may, as ministers have argued, be able to take up the slack left by public-spending cuts. Reed said the number of new jobs vacancies in London was continuing to dip, but was still on the up in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
A separate study by Yorkshire Bank also revealed a healthy growth in jobs and found that almost half of the businesses it questions – 49 per cent – planned to increase their workforces over the next year. Half of the firms surveyed said they intended to recruit skilled workers, and a quarter hoped to take on staff at managerial level.
Martin Warnes, the managing director of Reed, said: "Traditionally, the UK job market is quiet in August. Against this background, the fact that the Reed Job Index has held steady over the holiday season, even though public-sector jobs continue to decline, is quietly encouraging news for the economy as a whole.
"While the seasonal tourist boom and an unexpected rise in consumer confidence may have helped to fuel record demand for new staff in leisure, tourism and retail, it seems that overall confidence, particularly in the services sector, has been slowly but steadily building over the summer."Reuse content