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Energy sector jobs boost predicted

Energy firms are planning to take on thousands of extra staff to deal with complaints or calls about switching supplier due to rising bills, a new report has revealed.

Employment firm Manpower said the utilities sector was showing strong signs of recruitment.

Managing director Mark Cahill said: "We've seen plenty of criticism for the energy companies for hiking gas and electricity bills. However we've noticed the big energy companies are now looking to take on thousands of extra staff to deal with a rising demand in calls. Customers are ringing up the gas and electricity firms in greater numbers, perhaps to question their bill or even to switch provider. The effect of this greater volume of calls is that the utility companies now need to hire to meet this demand."

Manpower said the jobs outlook for the new year was "steady", though it predicted continued pressures on pay, underemployment and a lack of skills.

A survey of 2100 employers found slightly more planned to take on new staff rather than make cut staff.

Manpower said the findings showed there will not be a recruitment "boom", with many employers taking a "safety first" approach.

The study showed that hiring intentions in London fell below the national average, while every region in the UK recorded a positive outlook for jobs.

"Going into 2014, the UK jobs market has the characteristics of a swan: it's making steady, serene progress on the surface but a very different picture emerges beneath the water where it is paddling away furiously," added Mr Cahill.

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