IT HAS been a year which has seen record levels of employment up and down the country, but what have we experienced locally over the past 12 months? In a special feature, Nigel Coleman of Jobcentre Plus in Rotherham takes a look back at the labour market in 2016.
AS 2016 draws to a close, Jobcentre staff in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield are looking back at what a fantastic year it has been for recruitment.
In the last year, South Yorkshire Jobcentres have helped thousands of people into work by working with partners and employers and as a result the amount of people claiming either Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit has dropped to an all time low of just over 21,000.
Employers across all sectors have been recruiting, and sometimes in very large numbers.
These include warehousing opportunities in Barnsley and Doncaster which have seen the likes of Asos looking for more than 200 people, Amazon, in Balby, looking for 250, and another 400-500 at the Amazon I-Port site.
The Range warehouse, at Thorne, brought another 200 jobs, with the same number at Doncaster’s Asda/Wincanton site, while Royal Mail advertised 800 jobs across Rotherham, Sheffield and Doncaster for the Christmas rush.
Contact centres have been expanding with huge recruitments at Capita, in the Dearne Valley, of 1,200 staff across the year. Knowhow, in Sheffield, has taken on 400 staff. Aviva, the insurance company, has had a steady drive over the year of 20-30 staff per month, to fulfil the need for 400 new staff. Direct Line, in Doncaster, took on 170.
Retail has been particularly buoyant and Jobcentres have worked closely with the likes of Meadowhall to recruit over 1,000 Christmas vacancies, which will set many in good stead for the new developments coming to the area in the New Year.
The long-awaited Ikea store is set to open in late summer 2017 but has already run a number of recruitment events for the 350 positions available with the Swedish furniture giant. The retailer will start employing staff from February to prepare for the store opening and online applications will be open until March.
To the north of Sheffield, the new £50 million Fox Valley development recently opened its second phase of shops and has seen the likes of M & Co, Paperchase, JoJo Maman Bebe and Yorkshire’s new independent department store, Sandersons, join the development.
Deals have been signed so that construction can begin on the retail development at Corton Wood in the Dearne Valley. The extension to the existing site is set to create over 200 jobs with Outfit, H&M, New Look, River Island, Marks and Spencer Simply Food, Clarks, JD Sports, Wilko, Poundland and Frankie & Benny’s all signed up to take units at the new site – to be known as Cortonwood Shopping Park.
Sheffield also saw the relocation of the city centre Primark store, and the opening of the new cinema, bringing extra jobs into the city.
All in all, this has been a fantastic year for South Yorkshire with large scale recruitments across the district.
My colleagues and I have been trying to keep up with demand from local employers, as well as the big nationals, and it looks like 2017 will follow suit.