Construction sector is digging its way out of recession

Construction sector is digging its way out of recession

The UK’s Employment Outlook is looking firmly positive, according to ManpowerGroup, and it’s being driven by an upturn in construction and a buoyant London economy. “As we head into the summer months, the UK jobs market is not too hot, but not too cold either. It’s all about the Three ‘C’s:  Construction, the Capital, and Consistency,” said ManpowerGroup UK Managing Director, Mark Cahill. The first ‘C’ is for Construction, the most improved sector this quarter, up by five points, which is positive news as construction has been a huge drag on the whole UK economy, and is one of the main reasons we’ve had a double dip recession. Now ManpowerGroup reports it is starting to see rising demand for skills across the board, particularly in skilled trades and engineers.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from 2,101 UK employers. The latest findings, which show a national Seasonally Adjusted Net Employment Outlook of +5 per cent indicates sustained optimism in the UK jobs market, building on the first half of 2013 when the Outlook was +6 per cent. The survey, which asks whether employers intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming economic quarter, is used as a key economic statistic by both the Bank of England and the UK government.

London, the UK’s Capital, the second of the Three C’s, has delivered a chart-topping score of +13 per cent this time round. Cahill continues: “Glance up and you’ll see that there are more cranes on the London skyline than in the rest of the country put together. But it’s not just fancy skyscrapers like the “Cheesegrater” and the “Walkie Talkie”– if you look down you’ve also got Crossrail, Europe’s largest construction project with 42km of tunnel connecting the city from East to West.

It’s not just the Construction Sector that is helping propel London to the top of the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey leader board. The so called “flat white” industries of technology, media and advertising are also fuelling job prospects in the capital. The term comes from the coffee favoured by tech workers who cluster around East London’s Silicon Roundabout, home to Tech City.  Job creation here has contributed to Business Services registering a score of +14 per cent.

The third ‘C’ is Consistency. Cahill continues: “We’ve had two quarters of UK hiring intentions at +6 per cent and with a +5 per cent score this time round, 2013 is turning into a solidly optimistic year. To put that into perspective, average hiring intentions in 2011 and 2012 bumped along the bottom (average score of +2 per cent).”

While consistency is the story at the national level, it seems the closer one is to London the more optimistic one’s job prospects are. In the East of England the score is +13 per cent, the South West and the South East show high scores of +9 per cent and + 6 per cent respectively, with similar numbers in the West Midlands +8 per cent and East Midlands +5 per cent. But head to the North West and the score drops to +2 per cent, with the North East alone in chalking up the only negative regional score this quarter (-2 per cent). Scotland only just keeps its head above water this time with a +1 per cent score, while Northern Ireland is flat-lining at 0 per cent.

Cahill is keen to stress that despite the regional variations, there are jobs being created across the UK:  “For workers with in-demand skills in key sectors, businesses are hiring. It’s vital to stress that these are not just the temporary, part-time positions people typically associate with a tough economic climate – we’ve had a number of companies instructing us to look for highly skilled permanent staff. A good example of this is the engineering firm Babcock which has appointed us to recruit a very significant number of skilled workers to support their continued growth.”

To see a infographic of the survey results click here.