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World - German hiring optimism does not extend to the rest of Europe

13 September 2011

Labour market trends in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region follow the same mixed results seen throughout 2011, with positive hiring activity expected in 18 of 23 countries surveyed. Outlooks soften from three months ago in 13 countries but improve in 11 compared to one year ago, according to the latest fourth quarter Employment Outlook Survey, released today, by ManpowerGroup, the world's third-largest staffing firm.

Regional hiring plans are strongest in Turkey, Israel, Norway and Bulgaria, and weakest in Greece and Italy. Although hiring is expected to be in positive territory, manufacturing job prospects weaken across most of Europe despite a continued steady hiring forecast from German industry.

Jeffrey A. Joerres, Chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup, commented "although there has been a downward revision of annual GDP growth for Germany, job prospects for the country are expected to remain steady with Manufacturing employers indicating the strongest talent demand in three years. Although the sector was a bright spot across Europe in the third quarter, the continuing German optimism doesn't extend to the rest of the region where Manufacturing outlooks decline from three months ago in 18 of 21 countries."

Employers in India and China expect to slow hiring from three months ago, with notably more employers in the two countries reporting they don't know what lies ahead for hiring in the final three months of the year.

Meanwhile, employers in Brazil and Taiwan report the strongest hiring plans globally and say they will continue their robust hiring pace. In contrast, U.S. employers expect to continue their cautious hiring approach through the end of the year. And while Net Employment Outlooks soften from the third quarter in 21 of 39 countries and territories, they do remain in positive territory in 36 and are stronger than they were last year at this time in the majority of countries surveyed.

Joerres said "the spark of optimism seen in the global labour market last quarter did not take hold, as employers in the majority of countries we research are now throttling their hiring needs. Companies across the world are now more agile and quick to adjust to macro threats and decreased demand in their own businesses, giving employers a hyperactive index finger when it comes to hitting the start/stop button on hiring."

"Just like financial markets, labour markets continue to adjust to the 'new normal' and there will continue to be turbulence. Navigating this seesawing demand is difficult for employers, but most employers continue to be thoughtful and cautious in their hiring. For example, India's less confident outlook is due partially to weaker U.S. demand, as the U.S. accounts for almost 60% of the revenues in the $60 billion Indian IT industry. At the same time, we see job prospects in China decline for the fourth consecutive quarter as employers, especially small businesses, continue to struggle with increasing labour costs."

There is good news in Japan with employers' optimism now the strongest in three years, as companies in the earthquake-devastated Tohoku region are returning to regular production schedules and government job initiatives for displaced workers aid the recovery."

ManpowerGroup's labour market research reveals fourth quarter hiring expectations are positive in 36 of 41 countries and territories, with Net Employment Outlooks softening from three months ago in 21 countries and territories, but improving in 20 compared to this time last year. Hiring intentions for the final quarter of 2011 are strongest in Brazil, Taiwan, India, Singapore, Panama, New Zealand, Colombia and Hong Kong, and weakest in Greece, Italy, Slovenia and Spain. This quarter, employers in Slovakia and Israel are polled for the first time.

Across the Asia Pacific region, employer hiring demand remains healthy and forecasts improve or remain stable quarter-over-quarter in five of the eight countries and territories surveyed. Compared to this time last year, employer optimism is mixed, with Outlooks improving in four of the eight countries and territories. Regional hiring plans continue to be strongest in Taiwan, India and Singapore fuelled by demand in the Services sector. Meanwhile, Japanese employers report the region's weakest hiring pace, although the Outlook continues to grow steadily.

Joerres said "India hiring expectations remain healthy, but are notably weaker from three months ago with 1 in 4 employers telling us they're uncertain about adding to payrolls."

"The danger for countries with prolonged high unemployment rates today is that the longer workers stay on the sidelines, their skills erode, as does the national workforce potential of tomorrow, recovery stimulus must focus on job creation through iterative skills training to get labour markets running again."

"To the north, employers in the Nordic countries of Sweden and Norway expect to end the year on a high note, reporting their strongest hiring plans since 2008. Meanwhile, the jobs picture is worsening in Greece and Italy as economic woes continue."

Across the 10 countries Manpower surveys in the Americas, employer hiring plans remain positive in all countries, with Net Employment Outlooks remaining relatively stable or improving in five of the 10 countries in comparison to the third quarter and in six countries year-on-year. As was the case last quarter, employer hiring expectations are strongest in Brazil and weakest in the U.S., where job seekers should expect to see limited hiring activity in the final quarter of 2011.

Joerres said "although we expect continued positive labour market activity in the U.S., employers there are less confident than they were three months ago, with unadjusted data revealing softer job prospects in 12 of 13 industry sectors."

"In contrast, in Brazil, an unemployment rate of 6% and continued strong demand from employers in the finance/insurance/real estate and manufacturing sectors is creating intense competition for skilled professional workers, especially those in engineering disciplines where demand for new engineers is expected to outstrip supply by 20%."

To read the full survey please click here


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