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World – Global labour markets soften, finds Manpower

11 December 2012

Employers across the globe remain cautious and report subdued hiring intentions for the next three months with confidence being particularly low in Europe, a new survey by ManpowerGroup shows today.

The research, which covered 42 countries, overall shows that the majority of companies are hesitant about increasing their workforce in the first quarter next year. Weaker hiring intentions are most evident across Europe, where employers in 13 out of 24 countries expect negative outlooks at the start of 2013.

“In Europe, more companies are telling us they will cut staff to adjust to the weaker demand. In fact, employers in seven European countries are reporting their weakest forecasts since we have been tracking hiring trends,” said ManpowerGroup CEO, Jeffrey A. Joerres.

“But the current softening across global labour markets is much different than in 2008-2009. We are not seeing widespread doom and gloom, but rather more of a prolonged standstill in hiring.”

Jobseekers in Europe can expect improved opportunities in Turkey and Romania, while hiring expectations are frailest in Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. Although employer sentiment is low in the region, pockets of optimism can be found in Germany and the UK where employers are more optimistic about adding staff in the coming months.

The picture is a different one in Eastern Europe where hiring intentions have fallen. Polish employers reported their first negative forecast. The uncertainty in demand also extends to China, where employers report the weakest hiring plans in three years.

Overall, hiring plans are strongest in Taiwan, India, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Panama. In Asia Pacific, recruitment activities are mixed.

“Australia’s once booming resource sector is unexpectedly slowing down due to lower commodity prices and weaker demand from Asia, however the appetite for skilled talent in the sector remains healthy,” said Mr Joerres.

“Similarly, in the Indian market employer demand is notably weaker than 12 months ago across all industry sectors and more companies are uncertain about their workforce plans.”

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