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Monday, 9 February 2009

Jobs and unemployment in 2009

According to the CIPD/KPMG survey of employers' the jobs market in the UK is getting rapidly worse. This should not come as too much of a surprise.

It should be remembered though that this survey is now a bit historic and was undertaken in a period of particularly bad economic and financial market news. I would suggest that this news is slightly redundant (excuse the pun) and we should look to more recent indicators as a better reflection of what is going on.

The survey asks respondents their plans for recruitment and redundancies in the first quarter of 2009. It seems strange to me then that they would release this information on 9 February when we are already half way through the quarter.

"The latest quarterly CIPD/KPMG survey of employers’ recruitment and redundancy plans indicates that UK job prospects are deteriorating ‘at an alarming rate’ while the size of average pay rises is shrinking.

The winter Labour Market Outlook (LMO) survey of 892 UK employers, conducted by Ipsos Mori at the turn of the year, finds that more than one in three (36%) plan to cut jobs in the first quarter of 2009 – double the proportion expecting to make job cuts at the time of the previous LMO survey last autumn.

The LMO records a negative balance of -9 percentage points between the proportion of employers planning to cut jobs (36%) and the proportion planning to hire additional staff (27%). This is the first such negative balance recorded in the five years since the LMO survey began in 2004.

The latest LMO survey also finds that employers intend to keep a much tighter rein on pay increases in the coming months. Those who plan pay reviews expect staff pay to increase on average by 2.6%, much lower than the 3.5% average increase expected last autumn. But as many as one in eight employers don’t intend to conduct a pay review at all in 2009."


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Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Employee demand falling at a record pace

A report published today by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG showed a sizable weakening in the labour market and the demand for employees.

According to the press release that accompanied the report...

...For the third consecutive month, recruitment consultants reported declines in permanent and temporary staff pay during December. Anecdotal evidence suggested that rapidly rising levels of staff availability had diluted candidates’ bargaining power.

Reflective of recent redundancies and fewer job opportunities, the availability of staff to fill vacancies continued to rise substantially in December. The latest improvements in permanent and temporary staff availability were the strongest since the inception of the survey in October 1997.

Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the REC, said:“These figures are deeply worrying and show that the contraction in the labour market is now rapidly accelerating. The decline in both permanent and temporary appointments in December is the sharpest recorded since the survey began in 1997.

“At a time when the Government is proposing job creation measures, the REC will be seeking urgent meetings with the Government about its proposed removal of the VAT concession in April. This change could help retain 150,000 temporary jobs at a time when we should all be working together to create employment opportunities, not taxing them out of existence."

Mike Stevens, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, added: “These latest figures only serve to confirm the most pessimistic projections for the UK jobs market. They are also a lead indicator for a rapidly declining employment situation which is not yet reflected in the government's current employment statistics. One reason for this is that employment legislation – enacted since the last recession – tends to defer the incidence of job losses pending completion of consultation periods."

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