Employers have recorded their weakest level of confidence since 2012, with pessimism particularly acute in London, according to a Manpower survey.
The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey is based on responses from 2,102 UK employers. It asks whether employers intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter.
Mark Cahill, ManpowerGroup UK Managing Director: “The national Outlook hasn’t dipped below +5% since the final quarter of 2012, yet this quarter we are seeing the worrying double whammy of a fall in confidence nationwide and flatlining hiring in London. This makes for a pretty bleak midwinter considering it comes at a time when Brexit talks are on a knife edge.
It will no doubt prompt fears that our high-flying jobs market might be cooling off. The key indicator sectors of Finance and Business Services and the Public Sector have both seen a fall this quarter which could bear out this slowing-down.
“In the aftermath of Brexit people predicted that London would suffer a “capital flight” as major financial institutions relocated to the likes of Paris and Frankfurt. While we haven’t seen a mass exit so far, we are starting to see tangible signs of London’s preeminence fading with the capital reporting its weakest outlook in four years. London’s poor performance this quarter reflects a lack of confidence in the capital’s future prospects as the reality of the divorce from Europe looms closer.”
The survey comes as EY predicts that the City of London will shed 10,500 jobs by ‘day one’ of Brexit, with a fifth of banks, brokers and asset managers confirming plans to relocate staff. Double the amount of companies now plan on moving jobs post-Brexit compared to this time a year ago, says EY, warning that “many” of the 10,500 roles set to go will be client-facing, front-office jobs. EY identifies Dublin and Frankfurt as the two financial centres likely to benefit the most from the Brexit moves.
The Manpower survey says there is one sector that is bucking the downward trend: transport. This is possibly due to Christmas orders and fears over a talent shortage, given many drivers are from the EU and the workforce is ageing.