The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey for the third quarter 2019 was conducted by interviewing a representative sample of 2,101 employers in the UK.
All survey participants were asked, “How do you anticipate total employment at your location to change in the three months to the end of September 2019 as compared to the current quarter?”
The survey results for this quarter report that:
- Biggest public sector lead over the private sector in hiring intentions for 8 years
- Private sector shows weakest hiring Outlook since 2012
- The South East is the only English region not looking to hire this coming quarter
With a Net Employment Outlook of +6%, public sector hiring intentions are three points above private sector employers who report a Net Employment Outlook of +3% and two points above the national Outlook of +4%. This represents the weakest private sector Outlook in seven years and the biggest public sector lead over the private sector in terms of hiring intentions since ManpowerGroup began tracking the data eight years ago.
Much of this public sector demand has been led by the NHS which continues to struggle to fill the gap left by departing EU workers, while private sector intentions have cooled with prolonged Brexit uncertainty. The NHS is Europe’s largest employer with a workforce of 1.1 million workers, yet 100,000 posts still remain unfilled.
Private companies are exercising more caution as they wait and see what happens with Brexit after the summer. For many of these companies, this was part of a deliberate strategy to frontload activity in the first half of the year in anticipation of choppier market conditions later on. This is illustrated by the Outlook for the Manufacturing sector, which has fallen five points from the last quarter to just +3%, and the Transport, Storage and Communications sector, which has fallen to -6%, its lowest since 2010.