A report from Jobcentre Plus shows that almost half of manufacturing businesses were on the look out to hire new faces last year. In 2005, 45 per cent of manufacturing businesses were actively recruiting new staff, which is up 2 per cent on 2004. Manufacturing vacancies accounted for 10 per cent of the total vacancies available across Britain.

In addition to more employers looking to hire, more vacancies are also being successfully filled across the country – 88 per cent in 2005 compared to 86 per cent in 2004. Despite a marginal drop in the overall number of vacancies available across the country, in some regions the volume of available jobs has grown considerably. The total number of vacancies is up 25 per cent in Scotland and 20 per cent in the South West.

Minister for Employment, Jim Murphy, said: ‘The results of this survey reveal the current strength of the UK labour market. The number of companies looking to recruit new staff is on the increase at a time when employment is at record levels. We have set ourselves an ambitious target of reaching an 80 per cent employment rate and recognise that we need to do more to help match those who are now looking for work with the over 600,000 vacancies in the UK economy.

‘That is why our Welfare Reform Bill, and the roll-out of Pathways to Work for people on incapacity benefits, is so important. They will enable us to give many more people the individual help they need to move off benefits and into work. Jobcentre Plus plays a vital role in doing this, with some 10,000 new vacancies being advertised in their offices every working day.’

Further findings show that Jobcentre Plus continues to attract a large share of the vacancies market. Of the 3.8 million vacancies advertised externally in Britain over the last 12 months, well over a third (39 per cent) were advertised with Jobcentre Plus, more than any other recruitment method. This includes newspapers (35 per cent), internet recruitment (14 per cent) and recruitment agencies (13 per cent).

Although smaller employers were the most active recruiters, larger and medium-sized organisations advertised the most number of vacancies. Of all the vacancies advertised externally last year, 28 per cent were in organisations with between 10 and 50 staff and 29 per cent were in organisations with 50 to 250 staff. Smaller organisations with less than 10 employees accounted for 18 per cent of vacancies.

Lesley Strathie, Chief Executive, Jobcentre Plus said: ‘The survey reveals a positive picture for the UK recruitment market. The number of employers looking to take on new staff has risen across the board and use of Jobcentre Plus services is at an all time high. The UK also continues to have an enviable rate of employment boosted by the ever-increasing number of vacancies successfully filled each year. Jobcentre Plus plays a critical role in helping expose employers to a large, diverse labour pool and ensuring candidates are given the right advice and support to rejoin the job market.’

Jobcentre Plus serves 48 per cent of recruiting manufacturing employers and has maintained this level for a number of years, in a very tight labour market. Usage is highest in the security sector (67 per cent) and in 2005 it was also significantly higher in call centres (63 per cent). Half of employers in the healthcare, construction and hospitality sectors have also used Jobcentre Plus in the last 12 months. The majority (79 per cent) of manufacturing establishments that had used Jobcentre Plus in the last year were satisfied with the services provided and three quarters (73 per cent) intend to use Jobcentre Plus in the next 12 months.