Jobs market given lift by banks hiring to deal with PPI scandal

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The Independent Online

The UK jobs market is in its rudest health for five years, but the resurgence may only be temporary as banks hire thousands of workers to deal with mis-selling claims, recruitment firm Manpower says today.

Its monthly snapshot of employment prospects, which surveys more than 2,100 companies, is a picture of apparent strength with 6 per cent of employers looking to take on extra staff - the strongest result since the pre-recession days of 2008. But Manpower's UK managing director Mark Cahill said "all is not what it seems in the UK jobs market". The strongest performing sector in the survey was business and finance, in the midst of a hiring boom to deal with a flood of mis-sold payment protection insurance and interest rate swap claims. Manpower estimates 20,000 staff have been taken on to deal with this.

Mr Cahill said the hirings were "real jobs for real people" but there were questions over how sustainable the surge in employment is. He said: "We must not be fooled by the figures. These extra jobs are not a sign of a thriving banking sector looking optimistically to future growth – these roles are all about clearing up mistakes from the past." Mr Cahill also warned: "Despite attempts to put a lid on the amount that the banks pay out on PPI, within the last month alone we have seen big names like Barclays and Lloyds massively raise the amount of money set aside to deal with PPI claims. A whopping £17bn pounds has already been allocated, and some commentators think that number could rise much further".

Manpower also noted an upturn in public sector hiring as organisations looked to take on employees again. Mr Cahill said: "Austerity is still the order of the day, but in their efforts to implement budget cuts there has been a degree of over-firing." He added: "With around 600,000 new jobs created in the last year alone, you'd think the UK employment phenomenon must surely be coming to the end of the road, but the good news looks set to continue till at least the summer."