Research by recruitment agency ManpowerGroup revealed that the net outlook in the sector sunk to -1% in the third quarter of the year. This was the first time that the UK’s business and financial services hiring outlook was in negative territory since 2009, when the country was in the depths of the financial crisis.
The net employment outlook is calculated by subtracting those employers who plan to reduce staffing levels from those who plan to hire staff. A negative outlook means that more employers plan to decrease rather than increase the number of staff members. ManpowerGroup surveyed 2,107 UK employers.
James Hick, managing director for ManpowerGroup Enterprise, said, “As the UK is a global centre for financial and professional services, if the sector is shrinking, it’s not good news for UK plc. While financial services only employ 3.5% of workers, it generates about 11% of government tax receipts.”
The negative outlook also meant the overall national outlook for Q3 fell to 4%, the lowest since 2012.
Hick added, “With the Brexit uncertainty, lower-than-expected economic growth and consumer confidence falling, it’s no surprise that hiring confidence is tapering off. But despite concerns in sectors such as business and financial services, Britain is still hiring.”
London has managed to hold a positive outlook, matching the UK at 4%, despite the strong contribution of business and financial services in the capital’s jobs market. However, Northern Ireland and Scotland slipped into negative territory at -2%. Confidence in hiring in West Midlands dropped 10 points to -1%, the most negative outlook since 2012. East England also saw confidence decline by 10 points to 1%.