Belfast Telegraph

Employers are 'not optimistic' over job creation in new year

By Alan Jones

Employers in Northern Ireland are among the UK's most pessimistic about the prospects for job creation next year, according to a new report.

Recruitment firm Manpower reported that the UK jobs market sits on a 'knife edge' next year, with firms waiting to see what happens to the economy before taking on new staff.

A survey of 2,100 employers by Manpower found that four out of five had no plans to hire more workers within the next three months.

Recruitment expectations for the new year have slumped to their weakest levels since the end of the recession in 2009, with finance and business services falling from the most optimistic sector at the start of the year, to among the most pessimistic, said the report.

A new east-west divide had also emerged, with employers in eastern England the most positive about employment prospects, while those in the west of England, Wales and Northern Ireland were pessimistic.

Mark Cahill, Manpower's managing director, said: "The 2012 jobs market sits on a knife edge. In some ways this is a reflection of what is a weakening economy.

"We hear stories about companies hoarding cash and not investing and we see a number of business sectors battening down the hatches, holding on to existing levels of staff and not hiring with any great enthusiasm. Employers have adopted a wait-and-see approach to hiring - they are cautious about the economy and the fear of a euro-wide contagion is weighing heavily on their minds."

Another study found that half of graduates had been considering becoming self-employed and 15% have been looking for a job for more than a year.

A survey of 530 university leavers by recruitment firm found that a 'stale'jobs market was forcing many graduates to seek an alternative route to employment.

Mike Fetters of said: "With European economies in a worrying state and the UK labour market experiencing a 17-year low, competition for graduate jobs is increasingly tough.

"Therefore, it's not surprising graduates are looking at the alternative routes and it's great to see this entrepreneurial spirit amongst young people."

The reports were published ahead of new unemployment figures tomorrow.