Despite the recent press reports suggesting that all is not well on the jobs front, Handle, the specialist recruiter for the media and entertainment sectors, as well as a number of high end fashion and retail brands, is reporting a healthy upswing in HR hiring levels compared with the end of 2010.

The firm has just released the first of a regular quarterly report tracking the percentage increase/decrease in vacancies across its specialist industries of film, music, media, television and fashion. This first report suggests a very positive start to 2011 with a 12.5% increase in HR hiring levels.

“We are seeing healthy levels of hiring in areas such as talent development as organisations work hard to retain their key skills”, says David Johnston, Manager of Handle’s HR division. Johnston says that one interesting trend is that SMEs are now increasingly looking at setting up their own HR departments. “Whereas previously smaller organisations may have outsourced their HR function, we are now seeing an increased desire from SMEs on the media and entertainment sector, for HR generalists who can set up and develop an internal function”.

Internal recruitment is also a hot potato: “Big brands are increasingly looking at hiring people with a mix of in house and agency experience”, adds Johnston. “The ability to perform at a high level in a recruitment agency is often a good grounding to work in the often pressurised environment of the media and entertainment industries.”