UK Markets close in 5 hrs 54 mins

'Pretty bleak': British firms are more pessimistic about hiring workers than any point in 5 years

Thomas Colson
Drivers wait next to their parked lorries on the M20 motorway, which leads from London to the Channel Tunnel terminal at Ashford and the Ferry Terminal at Dover, as part of Operation Stack in southern England, Britain July 31, 2015.

Reuters / Neil Hall


  • Pessimism about hiring UK staff is growing.
  • Just 4% UK employers planned to hire rather than cut staff in the last months of this year.

LONDON — Falling unemployment has been a bright spot in a bleak picture for the economy since the Brexit vote, but pessimism about hiring staff is growing.

A new poll of 2,102 employers found a net balance of just 4% UK employers plan to hire rather than cut staff in the first quarter of 2018, the lowest figure in five years. That figure fell furthest in London to 0%, blamed on the capital's prospects after leaving the EU, and to 3% in south-east England.

The survey was conducted by employment agency ManpowerGroup Solutions, and it is used by the Bank of England to track hiring sentiment. It comes ahead of official jobs figures on Wednesday.

"This makes for a pretty bleak midwinter considering it comes at a time when Brexit talks are on a knife-edge," said James Hick, managing director of ManpowerGroup Solutions, in an emailed statement.

Screen Shot 2017 12 12 at 10.20.00

ManpowerSolutions

He said the country was "starting to see tangible signs of London's pre-eminence fading with the capital reporting its weakest outlook in four years."

ManpowerGroup also said there were signs of growing skills shortages in some sectors, including for freight lorry drivers, with 52,000 vacancies in the transport industry.

The Treasury predicted unemployment would rise by more than 500,000 in two years following a vote to leave the EU, but it has fallen. The Office for National Statistics said it dropped 59,000 to 1.42 million in the three months to September.

NOW WATCH: How much money you need to save each day to become a millionaire by age 65

See Also:

SEE ALSO: A no-deal Brexit could cost the UK economy £105 billion