Region’s businesses seeking to take on more staff

A majority of businesses in the region are seeking to take on new staff in the next six months offering hope of a continued economic recovery.

The bi-annual Regus Business Tracker, which surveys 10,000 firms in 78 countries, found a net 31pc of bosses in the East of England were seeking new recruits.

The company questioned more than 100 businesses in the region, and arrived at the figure by subtracting the number planning to reduce their staff from those looking to recruit.

And recruitment experts say rising demand for IT specialists and accountants is helping boost the region's jobs market.

The Regus survey also found 67pc of companies in the East of England expected revenues to rise in the next 12 months. The findings come despite fears of rising redundancies across East Anglia associated with public spending cuts.

Last month, the number of expected redundancies in Norfolk nearly doubled to 587, the majority of these occurring in the construction and public sectors.

Mark Dixon, chief executive of workspace solutions provider Regus, said: 'The intention to increase headcount is a clear indicator that businesses in the East of England want to be prepared to grasp the opportunities that recovering markets may throw their way.

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'The UK, where unemployment is currently at 8pc and is not expected to drop noticeably in the coming 24 months, should take this result as a positive sign of optimism.'

Jane Lovell, managing director of East Anglian recruitment firm Cooper Lomaz, said the company was seeing an upturn in demand for new positions.

She said: 'Specialist IT roles are particularly in demand as companies seem to be starting to invest again in their IT infrastructure.'

Ms Lovell said food manufacture was also seeing increasing recruitment, including senior level posts, while accountancy jobs had also seen an upturn in the past two months.

She added: 'We are finding the number of permanent vacancies we are recruiting has gone up 15pc since last year, and we are getting more instructions in some sectors than others.'