Job market defies expectations with stronger start to 2012 than anticipated

With the first quarter of 2012 in full swing, we’re happy to report an increase in the number of advertised job vacancies for January — signalling positive implications for the UK economy.

With falling numbers of vacancies in the second half of 2011, there was some concern that growth would be slow, but in an unexpectedly positive start to the year, Adecco’s Jobs Watch figures for January paint a more positive picture.

In late 2011, HR and IT were the only two sectors showing tentative growth, but the majority of sectors are now showing an increase in the number of advertised job vacancies against last year — particularly in financial services, accountancy and telecoms.

We can even report cautious signs of growth in the Public Sector, despite well-publicised cuts in 2011. Private Sector employers may therefore witness a decrease in the volume of applicants from the Public Sector, which is likely to be countered only by attractive benefits packages and pension schemes.

The retail sector continued its trajectory from December with a rise in the number of advertised permanent job vacancies, but a drop in the number of temporary vacancies; suggesting long-term confidence in the economy, and supporting research from the ONS that UK retail sales grew by 2% last month, compared to the same time last year.

Steven Kirkpatrick, Managing Director of Adecco, commented:

“This is a positive step, although only time will tell whether it represents a genuine rise in confidence for 2012, or whether companies are simply testing the water to see what talent is out there as they enter a new year. While the improvements in the Public Sector are minimal, it’s encouraging to see any progress at all in a sector which has seen such large budget cuts in recent months.”

With the jobs market showing signs of bouncing back, savvy employers are turning their attention to candidate attraction and employee retention techniques, as competition for talent is set to soar.

Contact Adecco for advice on how to attract and retain the best talent for your business.