Tuesday 13 December 2016 7:00 am

What Brexit? UK hiring is about to increase to its highest in three years

Hiring in the UK private sector is set to grow eight per cent in the coming quarter, bringing it to its highest rate in three years despite lingering Brexit fears.

The expectation of more jobs in financial services, utilities and construction has resulted in a positive outlook for employment in the new year, according to a survey conducted by the recruitment consultant ManpowerGroup.

Based on responses from 2,104 UK businesses, the survey showed there is greater optimism in the jobs market as a whole, with anticipated employment growth up two points on the previous quarter.

The utilities sector saw the biggest rise in confidence, jumping to projected growth of 13 per cent.

It is estimated at least 20,000 new jobs will be created in the energy industry due to the government’s target of installing a smart meter in every UK home by 2020.

Construction is also on the up, thanks to chancellor Philip Hammond’s commitment to investing £23bn in innovation and infrastructure over the next five years. Skilled workers are in such high demand that bricklayers can now earn £50k in some parts of the country.

It is not good news for everyone, however. Transport looks to become the only part of the private sector to shrink, down one per cent. A court ruling against “gig economy” employer Uber in October has put a dampener on the industry, while increased usage of driverless technology and delivery drones will reduce the number of driver jobs in the sector.

The public sector is also expected to contract again. But more opportunities are likely to be created by the Brexit process, said ManpowerGroup, as the Civil Service looks to expand the Foreign Office and the new Department for Exiting the European Union.

Mark Cahill, managing director of ManpowerGroup UK argued that Brexit has had a positive short-term impact on hiring in the private sector.

“Some employers may be looking to bring in talent while they can before any curbs to freedom of movement across the European Union come into effect, as more than half of all the jobs created by UK employers this year went to EU workers.”