Job Cuts Rocket but there is hope

These stats are nothing but frightening, but it is good to take notice, adapt where necessary and move on. I’ve included a number of massive job cuts planned and also of a few bits of hope.

Unemployment has hit 2.22 million
There are now 2.22 million people out of work in the UK according to figures released yesterday.

The number of people out of work in the UK rose 244,000 to 2.22 million in the first three months of 2009 according to the Office for National Statistics.

The jobless rate rose from 6.7 per cent to 7.1 per cent, the largest since 1981. Unemployment benefit claimants in April rose 57,100 to 1.51 million.

BCC reports
The manufacturing sector continued to be battered by the recession but the service sector has shown some grounds for optimism, according to a new report from the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC).

The report shows that manufacturing’s employment balance fell 19 points in Q1, to -36%, the lowest for 20 years. The sector’s employment expectations balance improved 6 points, to -35%, but is still very weak by historical standards, while sector’s Q1 confidence plunged to new record lows

Michael Page redundancies
Michael Page continued to cut staff numbers during the first quarter of 2009 as the impact of the financial crisis continued to affect its business.

The number of staff employed by the company at the end of March was 4,134 compared with 4,943 at the end of 2008, a 16% reduction. Headcount at the end of March 2009 was 24% lower than a year ago.

UK headcount fell by 262 during the quarter from 1,640 at the end of 2008 to 1,378 at the end of March, a 16% reduction.

Steve Ingham, chief executive of Michael Page, told a conference call: “These are tough times. Clearly it is not enjoyable reducing headcount, but we are reacting to market conditions well and will continue to do so.”

BAE Systems to cut 500 UK jobs
Defence company BAE Systems plans to close three UK-based factories.

A spokesperson from the company, which currently employs 1,820 people in the UK, says Guildford, Leeds and Telford will close with the loss of some 330 jobs; 50 jobs will be lost at Newcastle and seven jobs will be lost at Leicester, among other efficiency savings.

Dugald McIntosh, operations manager at Elan’s defence division, which works with BAE, said at least half of the defence contractors had announced redundancy programmes and he expects the trend to continue.

HR jobs hit by recession
Senior level HR recruitment has been hit hard by the recession, according to multi-sector recruiter Badenoch & Clark’s professional talent survey 2009.

Guy Emmerson, associate director, human resources, Badenoch & Clark, says: “The job market has seen almost a 65% drop in HR vacancies compared to this time last year. Senior vacancies are bearing the biggest brunt, with most organisations choosing instead to make the best use of their mid-management team.”

Financial jobs slump
Financial recruitment declined in April, according to the Morgan McKinley London Employment Monitor.

The volume of new job vacancies in April were down by 20% on the previous month and declined by 69% compared to April 2008.

Jobseekers took an average of 61 days to get a new job, four days longer than it would have taken them a year ago.

The number of financial services professionals who started looking for new work in April 2009 fell 4% on March 2009 and 40% compared to a year ago (April 2008), while average City pay registered £52,106, 7% up on the same month last year (April 2008).
Andrew Evans, managing director of Morgan McKinley, says: “While the decrease in new City job vacancies was to be expected in April 2009 as the month included the Easter break, it did put an end to the small uplifts in hiring seen during the previous three months of the year.

“It is clear from these figures that recruitment activity continues to be at reduced levels compared with a year ago and the sizeable gap between the number of new candidates and vacancies highlights that the financial services jobs market in London is still extremely competitive.”

BT slash 15,000
BT has announced it is to shed 15,000 jobs this year, most of which will go in the UK as it reported losses of £134m.

The BBC reports that BT’s problems stem from its global services unit, which handles the network systems of big organisations. BT added it had taken a near £1.5bn write-down at this unit.

Dubai could scrap 27 projects
Dubai could scrap 27 building projects, according to the head of its real estate regulator.

Marwan bin Ghalita, the head of the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera), told news website Emirates Business 24-7 that a decision would be made by the end of the month. “The decision has not been made. There are projects all over Dubai – third -party projects (sub developers).”

2,000 Construction apprenticeships at risk
Training body ConstructionSkills has warned that up to 2,000 apprentices are at risk of losing their job this year.

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However, recruiters say public sector schemes will provide opportunities.

HOWEVER Commercial Recruitment show signs of improvement

As the International Monetary Fund (IMF) praises the UK government for its “bold and wide-ranging” response in containing the economic downturn, commercial recruiters are seeing signs of an improvement in hiring intentions.

Consulting and property vacancy slump

Consulting and real estate advertised vacancies continue to decline, while there has been a rise in the number of public sector and medicines posts in the past six months, claims management jobsite Experteer’s jobs monitor.

The monitor shows that public sector and medicine vacancies rose by 13% and 10% respectively, while consulting and real estate showed the biggest relative declines.

Torsten Muth, managing director of Experteer, says: “While there is no denying that it has never been tougher to secure a senior position, senior vacancies are still in existence in particular industries.

“Executives in the consulting and real estate professions should consider carefully whether their experience might be relevant to other job functions or other disciplines.”

IT Improve
The number of UK IT directors looking to take on IT staff still exceeds those looking to cut headcount, according to research by IT recruiter ReThink Recruitment.

The survey shows that 34% of IT directors plan to increase IT staffing levels over the next year compared to 20% that say they intend to cut their workforce. The other 46% of IT directors expect that they will freeze recruitment for the next year, while 32% of IT departments have already cut staff in the year.

Service Sector improves

Confidence among service sector businesses has continued to recover, according to the CIPS/Markit Business Activity Index.

Confidence rose to its highest level since May 2008, with nearly 46% of the survey panel predicting a rise in activity in a year’s time.

The headline seasonally adjusted CIPS/Markit Business Activity Index recorded 48.7 in April, but below the 50.0 no-change mark.

April marked the 12th successive month in which service sector jobs have been cut in line with existing workloads.

Roy Ayliffe, director of professional practice at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS), says: “The health of the UK services economy showed some signs of recuperation in April as the rate of retrenchment eased to its weakest in eight months.

Until next week’s update.

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