Employers trying to hire, but workers want a better offer

UK employers report a buoyant labour market with the Net Employment Outlook rising to +21%, up two percentage-points since last quarter and down ten percentage-points on Q2 2022, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey.

In the context of record low unemployment and a historically tight labour market, employers continue to struggle to attract skilled talent, and in demand workers can’t find employers that fit their pay and skills needs. ManpowerGroup is advising employers revisit their essential skills requirements and consider what can be learnt on the job.

The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from 2,020 UK employers and asks if they intend to hire additional workers, maintain current headcount, or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter (April to June 2023). It is the most comprehensive, forward-looking employment survey of its kind and is used as a key economic indicator by both the Bank of England and UK Government.

“Our survey continues to show strong hiring intentions despite the economic climate, but hiring intentions are not translating into filled vacancies.” said Chris Gray, Director at ManpowerGroup UK.

“There is a mismatch between what workers want and what employers are offering. Employers across the country are still keen to take on new talent, and workers want to take on higher paying roles with greater development opportunities. However, they aren’t seeing these jobs advertised. Job descriptions are going unread because they aren’t offering the skills growth workers want. Employers need to be clear about the progression opportunities and the training they are providing.”

Approximately ten million people in the UK currently do not have a job, with 1.2m of those being unemployed and the remaining 8.9 million classed as economically inactive.[i] 

“It’s time to bring these workers into the fold,” continues Gray.

“In a time of economic uncertainty and a cost-of-living crisis, we’re seeing that existing employees are reticent to move to new jobs and would rather take on more over-time or a second or third job to make ends meet and continue to develop. We have to be looking to bring those inactive back into the workplace and this requires structural changes to make this a realistic option. Government has an opportunity in this week’s Budget to help make this happen – an improved childcare offer and support for over 50s and long term sick could make a real difference.”

Employers across all sectors plan to increase headcount. The IT sector leads the pack, with a Net Employment Outlook of +48%, an increase of 14 percentage-points on last quarter and up eight percentage-points on Q2 2022. This figure is more than twice the national average Net Employment Outlook. IT is followed by Communication Services (+36%), Transport, Logistics and Automotive (+27%) and Financials & Real Estate (+27%).

Gray explains: “Demand for highly-skilled tech talent continues to grow and we see this across all sectors. This growth is positive for workers, as businesses continue to deliver today while transforming for the workplace of tomorrow. This growth has a knock-on effect as new and different roles emerge, from project and change managers to newly skilled production workers. The opportunities are numerous as British industry works on future-proofing itself. To meet the demand, employers must re-evaluate what is essential and what is desirable in a candidate, and consider whether the role could be filled with a candidate who is 60 to 70 per cent fit for the role, and could be trained for the future.”

East Midlands leads the regions with a Net Employment Outlook of +29%, up 23 percentage-points on last quarter, followed closely by the South West (+26%) and London (+24%).

Gray concludes: “We are encouraged to see demand for workers the length and breadth of the UK – employers in all regions plan to expand headcounts. This is true especially of the East Midlands, which has seen hiring optimism surge since last quarter. Our insights tell us that a great deal of this demand stems from small and medium sized businesses which continue their optimistic streak in the region.”

UK Hiring Plans by Industry, Region, and Employer Size: 

Across sectors we see: Transport, Logistics & Automotive (+27%), Communication Services (+36%), Consumer Goods & Services (+21%), Energy & Utilities (+20%), Financials & Real Estate (+27%), Health Care & Life Sciences (+8%), Industrials & Materials (+20%), Information Technology (+48%), Other / None of the Above (+12%)Across regions we see: East Midlands (+29%), East (+19%), London (+24%), North East (+18%), North West (+16%), South East (+19%), South West (+26%), West Midlands (+20%), Yorkshire & Humber (+20%), England (+23%), Northern Ireland (+21%), Scotland (+20%), Wales (+8%)Across employee seizes: Micro [1-9 employees] +21%, Small [10-49 employees] +18%, Medium [50-249 employees] +22%, Large [250+ employees] +24%.  

[i] https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/uklabourmarket/february2023 

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