Manpower Employment Outlook Survey: Employers in Ireland to be challenged by marketplace uncertainty in Quarter 2 2012

Despite hiring intentions remaining weak, the percentage of employers surveyed expecting to add to their workforce is the highest since Quarter 4 2008

Dublin, Tuesday, 13th March 2012 – Manpower, the leader in contingent and permanent recruitment solutions, today releases the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, which reveals that overall hiring activity will remain sluggish in Quarter 2 2012. Of the employers surveyed in Ireland, across five regions and 11 industry sectors, 7% anticipate an increase in headcount, the highest percentage since Quarter 4 2008, and 10% expect their workforce numbers to decrease, resulting in a Net Employment Outlook of -3%. When adjusted to remove seasonal variations, the Net Employment Outlook stands at a muted -2% which is relatively stable both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year.
“Our Q2 research results reflect the uncertain business environment and challenges faced by employers. Rapid adjustments are required to operate at present; businesses have to manage demand fluctuations, increasing operating costs and competitive pressure, which require maintaining tight control over costs and increasing productivity,” commented Krissie Davies, Manpower Ireland Managing Director. “A workforce strategy aligned with the business strategy, as well as flexibility, are likely to be critical to success in the current climate,” she added.

Industry results
Employers in eight out of 11 industry sectors anticipate negative hiring activity for Quarter 2 2012. The strongest Outlooks are reported by employers in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (+10%), Public & Social (+4%) and Pharmaceutical (+3%) sectors. In contrast, the weakest hiring intentions are anticipated by Restaurants & Hotels (-17%), Transport, Storage & Communication (-17%) and the Mining & Quarrying (-13%) sectors employers. A subdued hiring pace is also expected in the Construction (-8%), Finance & Business Services (-6%), Wholesale & Retail (-5%), Manufacturing (-3%) and the Electricity, Gas & Water (-2%) sectors.
“Industry sector results correlate with the two-speed recovery pattern that has emerged in recent years. Employers in the Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing and Pharmaceutical sectors anticipate positive hiring plans while the weak Outlooks in the Wholesale & Retail and Manufacturing sectors is due, in part, to low consumer spending in Ireland,” said Davies. “The current uncertainty in the EU will likely continue to challenge tourism and export-led businesses during the first half of the year,” she added.
The Outlook for the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector strengthens by 6 percentage points compared to Quarter 1 2012 and by a considerable margin of 17 percentage points year-over-year. The Outlooks decrease in seven out of 11 industry sectors both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year. The sharpest year-over-year declines are reported by employers in the Restaurants & Hotels and Transport, Storage & Communication sectors where Outlooks sink 22 and 19 percentage points, respectively.

Regional results
Employers in three out of five regions surveyed expect negative headcount growth in the next quarter. Munster employers report the weakest hiring plans with an Outlook of -10% which represents a decline of 11 and 7 percentage points quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, respectively. The Net Employment Outlook for the Ulster region stands at -5% which improves marginally compared to Quarter 1 2012 and the same time last year. The most positive Outlook is reported by Leinster employers (+1%) and employers in the Connaught region report muted hiring plans with an Outlook of 0%.
“The employment market will remain challenging for job seekers in Quarter 2 2012 and networking is key. Manpower recommends carefully reviewing job specifications to invest time applying for suitable roles. It is essential to tailor CVs and cover letters to highlight the skills and competencies needed by each of the different organisations one is looking to join. Outlining not only responsibilities, but also achievements and carrying out sound company research, can help one’s CV stand out from the crowd,” recommended Davies.
The holding pattern on hiring is most prevalent across the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region with employers in 12 of 23 countries reporting relatively stable hiring plans compared to the first quarter of the year and those in nine anticipating an increase in the hiring pace. The hiring picture is mixed compared to this time last year, with Net Employment Outlooks falling in 13 countries but improving in seven. Regional hiring plans are strongest in Turkey (+26%), Israel (+17%), Romania (+13%), Norway (+11%), and weakest in Greece (-13%) and Spain (-8%).

The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on 12 June to report hiring expectations for the third quarter of 2012. The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is available free of charge to the public and can be downloaded from www.manpower.ie.

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Ivan | JobsBlog.ie

Ivan A. Stojnanovic Founder of Portal Ltd. MD of EmployIreland.ie and eRecruit.ie

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