Transport employment slows

Uxbridge, London: The Transport sector’s Net Employment Outlook has slipped further into negative territory, and now stands at -6% in Q1 2013, according to ManpowerGroup, This follows a gradual decline of the sector’s employment outlook since Q2 2012.
The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from 2,100 UK employers. It asks whether employers intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming economic quarter. It is the most comprehensive, forward-looking employment survey of its kind and is used as a key economic statistic by both the Bank of England and the UK government. The national Seasonally Adjusted Net Employment Outlook of +6% indicates that the jobs market looks twice as good as it was in the final quarter of 2012 when the Outlook was +3%.
“The first quarter is often a quieter period for recruitment in the Transport sector. Many consumers will be reining in their spending after the busy Christmas period, producing less demand for logistics services. The price of fuel may also be exacerbating the situation, with many haulage companies looking to tightly control their costs.” says Simon Edwards, ManpowerGroup sector director – logistics.
“There are some bright spots though. We’re seeing increased demand for Category B and Category 7.5 tonne drivers, as courier and haulage companies prepare to cater for internet shopping in the January sales and customers returning goods post-Christmas. While the net demand for drivers is set to decrease over in the quarter, this can be a good opportunity for drivers to renew their Certificate of Professional Competence training,” Edwards says.
In terms of other sectors, the Outlook for Construction is particularly weak (-14%). This is all the more troubling when you consider that were it not for the new infrastructure investment, the situation could be even worse.
Of the sectors that are doing notably well, the Retail, Wholesale, Restaurants and Hotels sector records its best score (+3%) since mid-2008. This could indicate that, after a torrid time on the high street with big chains like Comet collapsing, early signs of consumer confidence are beginning to return. A good example of this is Sainsbury’s which announced recently it would take on 10,000 staff over the next three years to staff its convenience stores business. The main winner is the Finance and Business services (+13%), but the optimism here this quarter is among business services firms rather than financial ones.
The latest figures also show UK employers of all sizes are hiring. Large (+11%), small (+12%), and medium-sized (+10%) businesses have all put in strong double digit performances and although the overall picture is held back by the performance of micro-sized business (those employing between 1-9 members of staff), this sector still stands at a four year high (+3%).
Overall, the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey reveals a tide of positivity sweeping across parts of the UK, with no evidence of the North-South divide which has been feature of the jobs market in recent years. The North West has seen an uptick, rising to a healthy +6%, with the North East is also positive (+4%). Both the East and West Midlands report healthy scores of +8%.  London and the South East remain upbeat +5% and +7% respectively whilst the clear regional winner is the East of England recording a score of +11%. Scotland is the only part of the UK which records a negative score (-1%) with Northern Ireland flat lining at 0%.
Mark Cahill, UK Managing Director at ManpowerGroup, comments: “The surge in optimism this quarter should also be seen in the context of a changing employment landscape. Undoubtedly these are good figures and should bring some much needed Christmas cheer to the economy, but underlying this is a more complex picture. There has been a seismic shift in the nature of employment with many of the new roles created being temporary or part time positions. 

“Whilst workers can expect a lower risk of losing their job, the flipside of this is that there is now a higher risk of having to work reduced hours or seeing a wage cut in real terms. The message to jobseekers is clear:  if you want to get ahead in the 2013 jobs market, you need to accept this as the new reality of the jobs market.”