Belfast Telegraph

Recruitment firms upbeat despite the jobs gloom

By Alan Jones

Recruitment firms reported another strong rise in staff placements last month, although they could soon be faced with hundreds of thousands of public sector staff looking for work, according to a new study today.

A survey of 400 recruitment and employment consultancies showed an increase in the number of people placed in jobs, although at the slowest rate for five months.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation said more people were available for permanent and temporary work in June compared with previous months.

Chief executive Kevin Green said: "Demand for permanent staff continues to grow. This is an encouraging sign that the jobs market is stable and, in some sectors such as construction and engineering, rapidly growing.

"However, with the predictions of up to 600,000 job losses in the public sector, it is still too early to tell how much of a knock-on effect this will have on job creation in the private sector.

"Our main concern is how the near-million young jobseekers are going to get their first role in a highly competitive jobs market. This problem can only escalate due to the thousands of graduates and school-leavers who will be seeking employment in the coming months.

"Youth unemployment is one of the most pressing issues we currently face in the UK and needs to be urgently addressed."

Bernard Brown, of KPMG, which helped with the research, added: "Clearly, the proposed public sector cuts have not yet had an impact on the UK jobs market. However, it can now be only a matter of time before we will start to see the impact of the Government's efficiency savings strategy, which is likely to leave hundreds of thousands of public sector workers looking for employment.

"The big challenge will be to transfer as many of these jobs as possible to the private sector through outsourcing and divestment, otherwise the economy will be put under enormous pressure."