Hiring grows as firms gain confidence in recovery

Tim Wallace
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EMPLOYMENT prospects are improving across the UK, according to Reed’s job index published today, as firms become gradually more confident about their own futures.

New vacancies increased 17 per cent in the year to May, and five per cent compared with April.

That pushed the index up to 141 – up from 134 in April and 121 in May 2011, using a base of 100 for December 2009.

The improvement was broad-based, with only Wales and East Anglia recording small falls, while London’s index rose from 141 in April and 126 in May 2011 to 148 last month.

That improvement recognises a five per cent rise in job opportunities in the capital in the month.

By sector, demand was highest in health, charity and education support services, despite the tough financial environment in those industries.

“May proved to be a buoyant month for the jobs market, with encouraging national growth replicated across the vast majority of regions and sectors,” said reed.co.uk’s managing director Mark Rhodes.

“While the UK is still technically in recession, these figures point towards a growing confidence among UK employers and we’re cautiously optimistic about the prospects for continued jobs growth over the coming month, though recruiters will be keeping a keen eye on developments in the Eurozone.”

However, not all sectors recorded an improvement – the index for estate agents’ jobs is down on the year, from 110 to 105, while the legal index slumped from 87 to 82 and the qualified accountancy jobs market stagnated at 98.

Furthermore, salaries remained flat, showing conditions in the labour market are still weak.

The salaries index was unchanged at 98 on the month and on the year, showing pay levels below those recorded in December 2009, the index’s base year.