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The latest Monster Employment Index Europe compiled by Monster Worldwide Inc. reveals that online recruitment activity held steady at the end of 2009, as businesses maintained their recruitment levels during the busy holiday season.
Despite the flat reading, the Index noted three percent growth over the last quarter of 2009. In addition, the annual rate of decline slowed in December. Offerings were down 24% compared to year earlier figures, a more modest rate than seen in November. These factors combined suggest that the Index has reached a bottom, providing a positive sign for job seekers as we head into 2010.
December saw significantly increased demand for workers in the legal sector. Service and sales workers noted the largest monthly gain among occupational groups, largely due to seasonal recruitment trends during the Christmas period.
"We saw considerable fluctuations at the beginning of 2009, but online hiring activity has remained generally stable over the past six months following a drop from the highs of summer 2008. While it appears the Index has reached a bottom and the longer term trend is improving, it may take some time for widespread opportunity to return to the job market," commented Andrea Bertone, head of Monster Europe.
"However, online hiring noted a modest 3% growth over the final quarter of 2009 and sectors including legal and real estate reported extended growth trends. With both business and consumer confidence growing, there is hope that job opportunities could rise steadily as we progress through 2010." Bertone added.
Belgium: Following a slight uptick in November, the Index returned to its October level suggesting online worker demand remained muted during the last quarter of 2009. Despite this, a positive trend can be seen in the construction sector, indicating building activity is fuelling some job creation. Job losses continue to outpace hiring, although Belgium's unemployment rate is rising less rapidly than many other EU countries.
France: The slight dip in online job opportunities during the final month of 2009 was largely due to seasonal factors, as organisations slowed down their recruitment activity leading up to the busy Christmas and New Year period. Whilst the Index dipped in December, overall online worker demand increased 13% during the fourth quarter of 2009. This suggests businesses are preparing for recovery as we head into 2010.
Germany: Although the level of online worker demand across Germany remained at a low level in December, the annual decline was its smallest for six months, falling just 26% suggesting the longer term trend is improving. Despite positive annual growth in the education, healthcare and finance sectors, steep yearly declines in engineering, manufacturing and transport and logistics counterbalanced these positives.
Italy: Online recruitment activity saw a moderate seasonal decline in December as employers scaled back their work load at the end of 2009. Work demand remains subdued with opportunities down by more than a fifth from a year ago. The employment outlook for the start of 2010 is largely muted. The most encouraging job prospects can be found in the arts, entertainment, sport, leisure sector which showed strong growth throughout the second half of the year.
Netherlands: The Index rose 3% over the final quarter of 2009, the first quarterly rise since the first quarter of 2008, suggesting that the Dutch labour market may have reached a bottom and is beginning to stabilise. Furthermore, whilst offerings are down 39% compared to December 2008, the annual rate of contraction has slowed significantly, and is now at its lowest rate since January 2008.
Sweden: The latest Index reading suggests online demand for workers may have passed a low point and it appears organisations are now accelerating their recruitment drives during the holidays. Whilst opportunities are at their highest level since April 2009, offerings are down 20% year-on-year, suggesting it may take some time for job demand to return to their previous high levels.
UK: Online recruitment opportunities in the UK rose four points (3%) in December, ending the year at a level unseen over the prior 11 months. Year on year the Index was down 15%, the smallest since December 2008 and well below the overall EU level, suggesting the UK labour market is emerging somewhat ahead of its continental counterpart. Among occupational groups, opportunities have risen the most for clerical support workers, many of whom are employed in temporary positions, suggesting the worst of the corporate freeze is over.
To read the full Monster Employment Index please click here