The one with a positive index

Hands up who’s fed up of financial doom & gloom? Whilst it’s not difficult to validate the doom or gloom what I do find frustrating is that the general behaviour seems to be to jump on the bad news stories and ponder with cynicism any good news stories.

It could be argued (by me if no one else wants to) that inertia and risk aversion will keep the patient alive but with only with a ventilator and the only way to get this back to anywhere near fighting fitness will be some bold moves, courage and displays of confident decisiveness.

The consumer confidence index produced by GfK was flat year on year between January 2011 and January 2012 (although had improved by 4 points from December into January) at the same time the Reed Job Index is 9% higher than it was in January 2011 with only a 2% improvement from December into January.

The Reed index was created in December 2009 (and set at 100) and now sits at 123 but are we in better or worse shape than we were just over 2 years ago? You can probably argue it either way depending on what perspective you take and what data you use but I personally would like to think the worst is over and we now fully understand the problem (fingers crossed) so just step forward those bold confident decision makers….

As part of Reed’s PR effort I had a conversation with Marketing Director of Reed.co.uk, Mark Rhodes and our conversation covered a breadth of information around the job market. Whilst Mark acknowledged the index was based on data from reed.co.uk and I politely alluded to where that would position the data in the market considering reed’s brand we discussed at length the fundamental weakness in an index of this nature as it measures jobs being created not jobs being filled.

If you’ve worked in HR you’ve likely at some point completed the ONS questionnaire on headcount and recruitment which usually in my case involved a chasing call from someone in finance with the threat of punishment for not completing it.According to the ONS there were 29.09million people in employment (between 16-64) in Jan 2011 vs 29.12million people in the same age group one year later. It would take a far greater statistician than I (that’s a long list) to compare the reed job index with the ONS data but the ONS number os 0.03 higher for the January 2012 data.

So Reed produce some good news and what do I do with it? Well not exactly treat it with cynicism but maybe some scrutiny and I wanted to use this to ask some questions:

  • Does increased confidence in employment feel valid to you in February 2012?
  • Do you think more jobs are net being created than are disappearing?
  • Do you think jobs are being created and remaining unfilled? If so, why?

I’ll leave you with those and bid you a good weekend!

What I confess I forgot to ask is how many endocrinologist and lollipop people vacancies they’ve ever had on Reed….next time!

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