ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey – Q3 2020

09 June 2020
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The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey for the third quarter 2020 was conducted by interviewing a representative sample of 1,056 employers in the UK.

All survey participants were asked, “How do you anticipate total employment at your location to change in the three months to the end of September 2020 as compared to the current quarter?”

Interviewing was carried out during the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak. The survey findings for the third quarter of 2020 are likely to reflect the impact of the global health emergency, and may be notably different to previous quarters.

The survey results for this quarter report that:

  • UK employment Outlook for Q3 2020 falls to -12%, least optimistic ever
  • Many employers expect hiring to return to pre-Covid-19 levels within the next 12months
  • Hiring intentions are down across every major sector

While businesses across the country have started the process of coming out of the Covid-19 lockdown, employers are reporting the weakest Outlook since records began in 1992. Hiring intentions for the third quarter of 2020 are down to -12%, with a sharp drop across all major sectors. However, employers remain cautiously optimistic that this will be temporary with over half (57%) of employers expecting to return to pre-Covid-19 hiring levels by this time next year.

The research reveals the huge impact of Covid-19 on UK businesses. Nearly half of employers report that 50% or more of their normal business activities have been suspended. The difference across sectors is stark: while 40% of companies in the Financial and Business Services sector have seen significant levels of disruption, that rises to 72% in Retail and Hospitality. Mark Cahill, Managing Director, ManpowerGroup UK says: “While there’s no getting away from the challenges that lie ahead, the data underlines the resilience of UK employers.”

Cahill continues: “It is worth reiterating that around three quarters of employers we spoke to expect to retain current staffing levels in the coming quarter and just over half expect to return to pre-Covid-19 hiring levels during the beginning of next year. The level of disruption is unprecedented and many will be looking closely at what happens next with how Covid-19 progresses, how consumers respond and what all this means for their own operations.”