Manpower sees growth in UK financial sector jobs
According to Manpower, one of the largest personnel firms worldwide, “job prospects in the finance sector look strong heading into 2014 with a Net Employment Outlook of +10%”.
The figures come from the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, which in turn is based on responses from 2,104 UK employers. It asks whether employers intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming economic quarter.
Manpower claim it is the “most comprehensive, forward looking employment survey of its kind” and is used as a key economic statistic by both the Bank of England and the UK government. The National Seasonally Adjusted Net Employment Outlook of +5% reveals that employers in the UK are intending to take on staff in the first three months of 2014, building on a consistent year throughout 2013.
“The outlook for the finance sector remains strong for the first few months of the new year,” says Karen De Merist, Manpower Group sector director for finance and banking. “Although the outlook is slightly down on last quarter’s high, we are still firmly in positive jobs territory. Whereas in recent months hiring has been driven by the need for banks to deal with PPI mis selling claims, now we are seeing a more “business as usual” view and hiring is being driven by other factors.”
Changes in regulation are one of the reasons for optimism, says De Merist: “New rules being introduced from April will mean that anyone selling a mortgage will need to hold a relevant mortgage qualification. Financial institutions are continuing to gear up for this by taking on staff with the necessary skills. With the housing market emerging from the doldrums, and the introduction of the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme, this will be a ripe area for jobs in 2014.”
But she also highlights underlying trends that are changing the way banks and financial institutions communicate with customers that is driving a change in the skill sets they are looking for. “We are seeing a few more interesting trends that I think will be with us for some months yet. Finance sector organisations are still keen to interact with their customers and customer service scores are viewed as incredibly important. Some attempts to communicate, for example using social media, have backfired spectacularly recently, but we can expect ever more innovative ways of trying to connect with customers,” she says.
“New ways of interacting have also developed in the recruitment sector and organisations are increasingly changing their processes to respond to a new generation of employers. We have been working with both employers and young candidates to develop a tailored approach to recruiting young people. Some of the developments include focusing on life experience not just ‘work’ experience, shifting the focus of interviews from a competency based to a strengths based approach and engaging more with young people prior to the recruitment process through specialist organisations, specific events or providing work experience. We have received great feedback from both clients and candidates and I am looking forward to seeing a positive impact soon.”
The 10% uptick in financial service sector job market exceeds that of the wider UK jobs market which Manpower describes as “looking steady as we head into the New Year, with a +5% score showing that employers across the UK intend to take on staff in the first three months of 2014 as the economic recovery gathers momentum, but it warns that “apparent calm on the surface belies a far more turbulent jobs market below the waterline”.
Mark Cahill, Manpower Group UK managing director, said: “Going into 2014, the UK jobs market has the characteristics of a swan: it’s making steady, serene progress on the surface but a very different picture emerges beneath the water where it is paddling away furiously. Continued pressure on pay, underemployment and a lack of the necessary skills among candidates means it’s still an employer’s market and employees are yet to feel the effects of the economic recovery in their pockets. These issues don’t look like they will ease up much in the near future,” said
By way of comparison to the 10% figure for financial services, Manpower reports a 9% growth for the utilities sector (banking industry professionals may enjoy a twinge of either schadenfreude or empathy as the firm reckons this hiring is driven by the utility companies hiring staff to handle an increasing number of call to either complain about fuel bills or set about switching suppliers.)
In the underlying economy, Manpower’s figures for the manufacturing sector show a growth from 3% last quarter to 6% this time round, its strongest outlook in more than two years. Another sector performing well is transport, on +7%, with the rise of internet shopping making jobs in home delivery a popular choice particularly for part time workers.