Manpower report says figures somewhat distored by employment linked to PPI claims
The outlook for the Scottish jobs market has returned to pre-recession levels, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.
The recruitment firm's latest survey results, based on responses from more than 2,000 UK employers, shows the outlook for Scotland was plus five per cent on its scale of measurements, slightly behind the plus six per cent score for the rest of the UK.
Employers were asked their views on whether they intended to increase or decrease staff numbers in the coming three months.
The survey suggests the outlook for Scotland has returned to levels last seen in 2007, before the banking crisis unfolded, and follows a similar positive trend reported in the previous quarter.
However, Manpower UK's survey states in it latest report “all is not what it seems”, describing the UK jobs market as continuing its “amazing levitating trick” and credits the banking sector's payment protection insurance (PPI) scandal.
The banking sector alone is credited with having created 20,000 new jobs to deal with the flood of compensation claims for mis-sold PPI and interest rate swaps.
Manpower Group UK managing director Mark Cahill points to the UK jobs market's best performing sector, business and finance services, which shows a score of plus 13, the bulk of which is linked to mis-selling claims.
Further job creation has come from claim management companies looking to cash in on the mis-selling scandals.
Cahill says: “Despite attempts to put a lid on the amount that the banks pay out on PPI, within the last month alone, we have seen big names like Barclays and Lloyds massively raise the amount of money set aside to deal with PPI claims.
“A whopping £17 billion pounds has already been allocated, and some commentators think that number could rise much further.
“The consequence of this will not only mean cash in people’s pockets, it will also translate into jobs. We must not be fooled by the figures.
“These extra jobs are not a sign of a thriving banking sector looking optimistically to future growth – these roles are all about clearing up mistakes from the past.”
Manpower does, however, cite the plus 12 per cent score from the transport and communications sectors as being a sign of a positive in the latest figures.
Cahill said: “Communications companies like Virgin Media are hiring sales staff in an effort to attract new customers and sell new products and services. We’re also seeing that logistics firms are taking on drivers to meet higher demand for home deliveries, fuelled by the growth in e-commerce.”
Manpower's survey also found a resurgence in public sector hiring, which it predicts “is actually set to outpace private sector hiring in the second quarter of 2013”.
Cahill adds: “We’ve noticed that a number of public sector organisations have begun recruiting again with renewed vigour.
“Again, don’t be fooled – austerity is still the order of the day – but in their efforts to implement budget cuts there has been a degree of over-firing. In other words, in their zeal to cut budgets, too many people may have been laid off.
“Now councils and other bodies have realised that if they want to maintain vital public services they are going to need to start recruiting again, but this time a lot more smartly.
“So while private sector hiring intentions stand at plus six per cent, public sector hiring intentions have risen to plus seven per cent.”
Construction remains in a “hole”, Manpower said, with an outlook score of minus 11 per cent, continuing a negative trend recorded in every quarter for the last five years.