Challenges in the South East

Sep 23, 2016 | Data Based, Market Insights

Uncertaintly has proven to be the watchword for the South East job market as overall activity has remained volatile. While July was busier than anticipated, in August activity then fell sharply.

In the South East, the first half of 2016 was up 9% from the same period in 2015. Between June and July, the region’s vacancy market dropped by 0.4%, compared to 7% in Greater London. The top region by population and the second by economy size, the South East is a significant part of the vacancy market’s driving force. Hotspots such as Milton Keynes and Reading are UK hubs for Financial Services and Technology. Furthermore, the South East has vibrant R&D activity, accounting for 21% (2014) of GERD (Gross domestic Expenditure on R&D), the most of any UK region.

With businesses forced to develop strategies for dealing with potential outcomes of UK / EU negotiations, future planning is challenging. In August, the South East’s vacancy volumes shrank by 6% compared to 2% in England & Wales overall, highlighting the variance by region. Financial Services plays a dominant role across the South East, how the industry pivots in the event of the UK not having FS passporting rights remains a question.

The big question is how much of the current trends are linked to historic investment decisions and at what point we are truly entering a post referendum economic cycle. While ONS job data for July was better than expected, there is also concern over the UK economy’s addiction to debt and a question over whether we are currently witnessing an economic mirage in the run up to the major decisions being taken.

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The data used in this article comes from and is owned by Vacancysoft LLP.

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