Yorkshire bosses remain optimistic but fear a ‘hard’ Brexit

The Leeds jobs market is very buoyant, according to Manpower Group's survey
The Leeds jobs market is very buoyant, according to Manpower Group's survey
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EMPLOYERS in Yorkshire and the Humber were the most optimistic in the UK about the potential for hiring staff in the run-up to the General Election, according to a new survey.

However, the study from Manpower Group also revealed that many companies feared the outcome of a ‘hard’ Brexit because some sectors will stall without access to skilled overseas workers.

The study found that Yorkshire and the Humber had an employment outlook of +11 per cent, with hiring intentions jumping five points since the last quarter. The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from 2,109 UK employers. It asks whether employers intend to hire more workers, or reduce their workforce, in the coming quarter.

Amanda White, the head of specialist markets for Manpower Group, said: “Manufacturing is really leading the way in hiring positivity in the region, with chemicals, paint and automotive all looking particularly strong.

“The Leeds job market has been very buoyant and the city is attracting talent, due in part to the many head offices that are based in there.

“Outside Leeds however, there are noticeable skills shortages, with southern parts of the region particularly struggling to find enough qualified engineers. In Hull, the proposals for a new energy park could bring more than 1,000 jobs to the area. This has created a buzz and could prompt further investment to the region.

“We have also been noticing that, in the temporary jobs market, clients are contacting us with ever more immediate needs, sometimes with only hours’ notice.

“Organisations do not want to suffer operational slowdowns so are looking to fill gaps as soon as they arise. This all points towards optimistic future employment intentions that have led to the highest outlook score in the region since 2014.”

Nationally, companies are demonstrating cautious optimism with an outlook of +5 per cent, despite facing a snap election, the triggering of Article 50, and weak economic data.

James Hick, the ManpowerGroup solutions managing director, said: “You might have expected hiring confidence to have taken a real hit, but employers have been standing firm. However, unquestionably they feared the outcome of a hard Brexit on the jobs market. The election result throws into question the Conservative commitment to slash immigration to the tens of thousands and double the levy on non-EU workers to £2,000.

“The simple truth is that some sectors will stall without skilled workers from overseas, which could result in the UK economy entering a tailspin.”

Mr Hick added: “People might be surprised to learn that, in the last year, 80,000 Bulgarians and Romanians entered the UK workforce, while the size of the UK-born workforce did not increase at all, demonstrating just how accustomed we have become to a steady stream of labour from overseas.

“Slamming the door shut will leave us seriously exposed.”

The latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey was conducted between April 19 and May 2.

A “net employment outlook” is calculated by subtracting those employers who plan to reduce staffing levels from those who plan to hire staff.

A positive result indicates that more employers plan to increase rather than decrease staffing levels.

While Yorkshire and the Humber is top of the regional charts, London is also riding high, with a five point jump this quarter, to +8 per cent.

Wales is at the bottom of the regional table with an outlook of 0 per cent, the lowest level for the country since 2014.

Gareth Harris of RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

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