The UK Net Employment Outlook has fallen to +25% for Q4, a decline of eight percentage-points on Q3, and a decrease of six percentage-points year-on-year according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey (MEOS). Whilst hiring confidence remains positive across all sectors, new candidates are faced with less bargaining power as employers prioritise retaining their existing workforce.
The survey is based on responses from 2,030 UK employers and asks if they intend to hire additional workers, maintain current headcount, or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter (October to December 2022). It is the most comprehensive, forward-looking employment survey of its kind and is used as a key economic indicator by both the Bank of England and the UK Government.
“Employers are keen to get people back into the office, however employees still have a lot of bargaining power,” says Chris Gray, Director at ManpowerGroup UK. “Over the last 12 months we have seen employers offer unprecedented benefits, from hefty signing bonuses to fully remote working, in order to attract skilled candidates. However, as demand for new workers cools, candidates are less able to secure these benefits – but many existing employees don’t want to give them up. One of our clients saw 75% of employees decline new contracts that didn’t guarantee remote work. This leaves employers engaged in a balancing act of keeping their existing employees happy while phasing out remote work for new candidates.
“We’re seeing a shift from candidates holding all the cards to employers now having the leverage to ask candidates to come into the office – at least some of the time. Existing employees are more likely to have the bargaining power to retain their home working benefits, but new candidates will increasingly see pandemic-era benefit offers in the rear-view mirror.”