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15 May 2013

Employment growth set to continue, figures show

But labour market still ‘a battleground’ for job seekers

The jobs market is forecast to grow this quarter as more employers intend to hire new recruits, according to research.

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The UK’s net employment balance – the difference between the proportion of employers who expect to increase and decrease staffing levels – has increased to +9 from +5 last quarter.

This has been mainly driven by improving hiring intentions in the private sector – now +21, up from +16 last quarter.

Sectors reporting the strongest net employment balances were IT (+36), consultancy services (+25) and manufacturing and production (+16).

But there was a bleaker picture in the public sector, where employment levels are set to fall further in the second quarter of 2013, with a negative net employment balance of -32.

The report also revealed that there were now 45 applicants applying for every low-skilled job, meaning the labour market was still a ‘battleground’ for job seekers – particularly those with less experience, skills or qualifications.

Meanwhile, the median number of applications employers received for medium-skilled roles was 29, while highly-skilled vacancies typically attracted 10 applicants.

The report also highlighted the extent to which certain groups were excluded from the recruitment process, with 14 per cent of employers admitting that they would not consider employing school-leavers. A further 11 per cent reported that they would not recruit from the ranks of the long-term unemployed.

“With more than 40 applicants typically chasing every low-skilled job already… it is very tempting for employers to feel overwhelmed by such a high volume of applicants and to set a high bar for their needs today,” said Rhys Mason, labour market adviser.

“However, employers should see it as an opportunity to draw on a wider pool of talent for their needs tomorrow, to help address skills shortages and improve their talent pipelines.

“Our recent report exploring employers’ recruitment practices highlights the importance of employers ensuring that they don’t inadvertently screen out candidates of different ages or backgrounds for the wrong reasons – for example, by requiring degrees for roles where they are not needed. Such an approach would marginalise young people most and add to the pool of wasted young talent.”

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