Greater Confidence For Future

West Midlands employers show greater confidence for future following election

Employers in the West Midlands have grown in confidence over the last quarter, despite wider economic uncertainty caused by the General Election, a new report has claimed.

In the first employment published since the election, Manpower Group said optimism in the region had grown to +9% – a rise of four percentage points on the previous quarter – making it the second most optimistic region in the UK.

The Manpower Group Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from 2,109 UK employers. It asks whether employers intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter. It is considered one of best bellweathers of the UK employment picture and is used as a key economic statistic by both the Bank of England and the UK government.

Jason Greaves, Operations Director at Manpower, said: “It’s pleasing to see that, after a brief wobble last quarter, the jobs market in the West Midlands is back to its powerful best. It is built on solid foundations and this has been demonstrated by the fact that even the noise of the election has not deterred employers here from their plans to hire.

“With a new metro mayor promising to champion the region, and Britain’s biggest bank, HSBC, relocating its UK banking operations from London to Birmingham, confidence here is riding high.”

He said picture emerging was one of sustained and growing opportunities within manufacturing, engineering, warehouse and logistics across the region, with some employers investing in high volume recruitment drives.

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“Although there have been some job losses with the closures of EY Electrical and 2 Sisters Food Group, there are many new opportunities in the region with companies such as Lidl and Cosma International,” he said, adding that some employers had been seeking pay advice to ensure their opportunities were attractive.

“They are increasingly open to upping the rates of pay on offer to guarantee the best candidates,” he said.

Nationally, the group said employers were demonstrating cautious optimism with an outlook of +5%, despite the triple whammy of uncertainty over the last few months caused by a snap election, the triggering of Article 50, and weak economic data for the first half of 2017.

The group added that whilst on first glance the election uncertainty might appear unhelpful to employers, it believed the shock result could offer hope for businesses who had feared the impact of a hard Brexit on hiring.

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