Moderate Growth in Online Recruitment in the UK in May, According to the Monster Employment Index

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May 2008 Highlights:

- UK online hiring activity grew moderately in May, following two months of decline
- The healthcare, social work sector registered the highest increase in demand, closely followed by education, training and library
- Banking, finance, insurance sector decreased significantly, reflecting layoffs by banks
- Opportunities in sales showed a year-on-year drop for the first time in more than 12 months, suggesting slower hiring in the retail sector amid waning consumer confidence and high inflation
- Among occupational groups, opportunities for craft and related workers grew most
- Regionally, moderate growth was seen in East Anglia, the Midlands and North England. The South West grew most year-on-year

Overview The Monster Employment Index UK increased by two points in May to reach a level of 181. Significantly increased hiring in the healthcare, social work; and education, training and library industries was offset by a sharp decline in the banking, finance, insurance sector. The Monster Employment Index UK is a monthly analysis of millions of online job opportunities culled from a large, representative selection of corporate career sites and job boards across the UK, including

"Despite the rise in the UK Index in May, annual growth rate is at its lowest level in over a year - largely due to reduced hiring in the finance and retail sectors," said Hugo Sellert, Head of Economic Research, Monster Worldwide. "With the UK economy expanding at its slowest pace in three years in the first quarter of 2008, it is not surprising that employers are cautious about adding staff right now. Still, the Index remains significantly higher than last year, suggesting that more companies choose to advertise their vacancies online."

Healthcare, social work; and education, training and library lead growth

Online hiring in the healthcare, social work sector rose by 28 points in May, bouncing back from a significant drop in April. Demand was led by increased opportunities for technicians and associate professionals; and professionals. Regionally, only Wales saw a fall in hiring. Job availability grew the most in East Anglia.

Opportunities for workers in the education, training and library industry also rose dramatically, reversing a steep fall in April. Online availability for professionals; and technicians and associate professionals increased furthest. Scotland saw the highest rate of growth, while hiring also rose in London for the second straight month. Demand decreased in Wales and Northern Ireland. Year-on-year growth was 46 points, or 32%.

By contrast, the banking, finance, insurance industry fell by 23 points, following three consecutive months of steady growth. The decline was partly due to fewer opportunities for professionals; and technicians and associate professionals. North England registered the steepest decline, while online hiring in East Anglia and the South West decreased for the second straight month.

Significant increase in opportunities for craft and related workers

Online job availability for craft and related workers recovered in May, offsetting the decline seen in April. Demand was driven by rising demand in the production, manufacturing, maintenance, repair; and construction, extraction sectors. Regionally, the highest rate of increase was in Wales. Year-on-year growth was 62 points, or 25%.

Demand for service workers and shop and market sales workers decreased in May, mainly due to the downturn in hiring in the sales; and transport, post and logistics industries. Opportunities fell most in Northern Ireland, North England and London. Year-on-year, there was a 13% decrease, making it the worst performing occupational group.

Hiring of technicians and associate professionals dipped for the second month in a row, partly due to a fall in opportunities in the administrative, organisation; banking, finance, insurance; and telecommunications sectors. Scotland showed the biggest downturn, while demand fell in London and the South East for the second successive month.

East Anglia and the Midlands show greatest regional growth

East Anglia grew by eight Index points in May, following a dip in April. The biggest upturn was in the education, training and library sector. Among occupations, the strongest increase was in technicians and associate professionals. Year-on-year, however, demand dipped by 12 points, or 7%.

Online hiring also increased in the Midlands, led by increased opportunities in the arts, entertainment, sports and leisure industry. Demand for clerks also grew strongly in May. Year-on-year growth was 16 points, or 9%.

In contrast, online recruitment dropped by 16 points in Northern Ireland - the region's third straight month of decline. This downturn was largely caused by falls in the administrative, organisation; hospitality and tourism; sales; and research and development industries. Of the occupational groups, hiring of legislators, senior officials and managers; and service workers and shop and market sales workers dropped furthest.

There was also a downturn in job availability in London for the third successive month. The sectors that dipped most were banking, finance, insurance; arts, entertainment, sports, leisure; and administrative, organisation.
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