Job prospects in Yorkshire and the Humber stand below the national average, according to Sheffield-based recruitment firm Manpower.
The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey revealed that at +3 per cent, the region’s employment outlook falls short of the UK picture at +4 per cent for the fourth consecutive quarter.
The survey is based on responses from 2,101 UK employers. It asks whether employers intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming quarter.
Amanda White, operations manager at Manpower, said: “It is disappointing to see the jobs outlook in Yorkshire and the Humber continuing to lag behind the national average.
“Part of this drop in hiring intentions is being driven by the public sector, where confidence has slipped nationwide following the Government’s renewed commitment to cuts.
“Yorkshire and the Humber, the North East and the North West together employ the greatest proportion of public sector workers in England, so it follows that recruitment in these regions is bearing the brunt of public sector pessimism.
“We are also seeing a marked divide between job prospects across the north and those in London – a clear sign that the Government’s plans to rebalance the economy through the creation of a Northern Powerhouse have so far failed to ignite, despite efforts such as Hull’s 10-year, £1 billion regeneration programme.”
She added: “Although the outlook in the region falls below the UK as a whole, we shouldn’t forget that the picture is still positive. In particular, we are seeing strong demand for employees in the manufacturing sector, and for call centre workers, with particularly fierce competition in Sheffield and Leeds.”
Overall, the survey showed the UK jobs market stands at its least optimistic level in three years.
Manpower’s data suggests employers are already feeling the impact of the national living wage, scaling back their recruitment plans in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The policy will see six million people receive a six per cent pay rise each year until 2020, but the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that the extra costs could mean up to 60,000 job losses.
At +8 per cent, optimism in the capital is twice the national average, despite the fact that employers in its largest industry – finance and business services – record their weakest outlook for three years, at +4 per cent.
The job prospects in the north stand in stark contrast to London, with the North West, 0 per cent, and the North East, -2 per cent, together with Yorkshire and Humberside, all lagging behind the UK average.