Employers suffer slump in recruitment confidence

Employers in the West Midlands have suffered a slump in confidence this quarter, reflected in a four-point fall in the region’s employment outlook, according to a new study.

ManpowerGroup’s Employment Outlook Survey said hiring trends had fallen from +9% to +5%.

The study asks whether employers intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter.

Jason Greaves, operations director at Manpower, said: “After a boost in Q3, fueled by some high profile investment in the region, the West Midlands jobs Outlook has cooled this quarter, dipping below the national Outlook for the first time since Q1 2016.

“However, the economy here is built on solid foundations and we are still seeing a steady stream of vacancies. Companies such as the cycling specialist Wiggle, which has a warehouse and logistics operation in Wolverhampton, are moving jobs into the region, and they are one of several companies recruiting for warehouse and logistics roles.”

He said there remained a high demand for temporary candidates across the region, although the trend was for candidates to opt for longer term positions that offer more security.

“Length of time on offer is definitely a factor for growing companies to bear in mind when they are seeking to take on staff. Another factor in attracting the best talent, particularly in high demand industries, is having a strong employer brand and maintaining timely and high quality communications with candidates,” he added.

Nationally, employers have recorded a one-point uptick in optimism with a national Outlook of +6%. A surge in positivity among public sector employers is a key factor in the improved national picture, with hiring intentions in this sector up four points to +2%, the biggest rise since 2015.