Promising employment levels to continue

Employment growth is set to continue in the second quarter of the year, according to the predictions of a new report.

The Success Factors Labour Market Outlook (LMO) for spring 2013 by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows the net employment balance has increased to +9, from +5 the previous quarter.

It measures the difference between the proportion of employers who expect to increase staffing levels and those who intend to reduce staffing levels.

This is the fifth consecutive quarter of projected growth, according to the LMO, with private sector job prospects looking particularly buoyant.

The net employment balance for the private sector is +21, up from +16 last quarter, while other forward-looking labour market indicators have been equally positive of late.

But despite these encouraging findings, the survey shows that with 45 applicants applying for every low-skilled job, the labour market is still a 'battleground' for job seekers, particularly those with less experience, skills or qualifications.

The median number of applicants employers receive for medium-skilled roles is 29, while highly-skilled vacancies typically receive 10 applicants.

"With a projected increase of half a million people to the UK population over the next 12 months, the number of jobs being created may fail to keep pace with the population growth," commented Gerwyn Davies, CIPD Labour Market Adviser.

"In this scenario, we could see employment rising accompanied by increases to unemployment; as the Office for Budget Responsibility expects.

"There's a danger that the stricter requirements being imposed by government on benefit recipients to look for work, coupled with the ongoing shift towards online recruitment, may lead to even more applicants for employers to consider for each vacancy in the future."

Employers may feel overwhelmed by such a high volume of applicants and therefore set a high bar for their needs.

However, Mr Davies claims they must seize the opportunity to draw on a wider pool of talent for their future needs, helping to address skills shortages and improve their talent pipelines.

Copyright Press Association 2013