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Science Careers Blog

October 29, 2012

Rising Job Prospects in U.K. Companies

In their latest sampling of U.K. industry, released today, business lobbying organization CBI and recruitment specialists Harvey Nash have found a cautious but continuing trend toward growing employment, with job prospects looking especially good for highly-trained people and college graduates.

This time around, the biannual CBI/Harvey Nash employment trends survey interviewed 300 U.K. companies of all sizes and sectors, which together employ more than 1.4 million people. Thirty-five percent of the respondents said that they expect to expand their workforce within the coming year; 15% expect layoffs, for a 20% positive balance. "This continues the trend of positive hiring intentions found in our previous surveys, which have subsequently resulted in the robust rise in private sector employment," the report said, noting that the positive balance has dropped, however, from last year's 28%. Small and medium-sized companies seem to be driving the intentions for recruitment, with a positive balance of 36% for small companies and 27% for medium-sized companies.

The survey found strong prospective growth in the scientific, high-tech, and IT sectors, with 48% of the companies expecting to expand their workforce in the coming year and just 13% expecting layoffs, yielding a positive balance of +35%. The survey found higher-level and specialist skills to be in particular demand across all sectors, with 40% of the responding companies expecting to recruit professionals and 28% IT specialists in the next 6 months. Twenty-seven percent are also planning to recruit new sales and customer service staff. "Businesses are targeting their recruitment on professional, technical and managerial roles, highlighting the growing demand for higher-skilled individuals and the shift to a knowledge economy," the report said.

British companies are also looking to recruit recent college graduates. While 50% of the respondents do not anticipate any change to their graduate recruitment levels in the next 6 months, 22% of the companies that do so are planning to recruit more graduates, but only 6% plan a reduction, resulting in a positive balance of 16%. "While competition among graduates for their first jobs remains tough, these results should provide encouragement for recent graduates that firms are looking to expand their pools of future talent," the report concluded.

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