Staff appointments continue to rise strongly in September

Key points:

  • Marked increases in both permanent placements and temp billings
  • Permanent salary inflation sharpest since February 2008
  • Vacancies continue to rise at marked pace
  • Candidate availability falls further


The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs – published today – provides the most comprehensive guide to the UK labour market, drawing on original survey data provided by recruitment consultancies.

Strong growth of staff appointments maintained…

Recruitment consultants signalled a further substantial rise in permanent staff placements during September. The pace of expansion was only slightly slower than July’s 40-month high. Temp billings similarly increased at a sharp rate, with growth close to the 15-year high seen in August.

…supported by marked expansion of vacancies

Demand for staff continued to increase strongly in September. Growth of job vacancies was at a similar pace to that recorded in August, which was the fastest for over six years.

Candidate availability continues to fall…

September data indicated a further reduction in the availability of candidates. Solid rates of decline were indicated for both permanent and temporary staff availability.

…contributing to further increase in pay rates

Permanent salary inflation quickened slightly in September, reaching its sharpest rate since February 2008. Temp pay inflation also accelerated, with the latest rise only marginally slower than July’s five-and-a-half year high.

Regional and sector variation

Permanent placements increased across all four monitored English regions, with the North continuing to register the sharpest growth.

The Midlands saw the fastest increase in temp billings during September, while the South posted the slowest rise.

Private sector demand for staff continued to rise at a substantial pace in September. In the case of permanent workers, the latest increase was the fastest since data were first available in December 2011.

In the public sector, demand for temporary staff improved at the sharpest rate in the series history, but permanent workers saw a slight fall in demand for their services.

Demand rose for all nine categories of permanent staff monitored by the survey in September. The strongest rate of growth was signalled for Construction workers, closely followed by Engineering staff. Hotel & Catering posted the slowest rise.

Growth of demand was broad-based across all nine temporary/contract staff sectors in the latest survey period. Engineering workers were the most sought-after. Mirroring the trend seen for permanent staff, the weakest growth was signalled for Hotel & Catering employees.


REC CEO Kevin Green says:

“This month’s figures show the jobs market continues to be the success story in the UK economy with all regions and sectors experiencing growth.  Recruiters tell us that the number of people being placed into permanent roles has now been growing continually for a year and temp growth maintains its strength following last month’s 15 year high. The good news continues with starting salaries for permanent jobs rising at the fastest rate in over five and a half years and they have been rising for the last 17 months.

“This is good news but behind this success story we can see that the division in the jobs market is getting worse with vacancies going up as the number of skilled workers to fill them goes down. There is a real two speed labour market in place. We have a buoyant, candidate driven market for skilled and professional roles, versus an oversupply of candidates for jobs that don’t rely on a specific skill set.”

He added: “Construction has rocketed to the top of the sector list of permanent in demand skills. Government schemes for house building and infrastructure projects are hotting up and making a positive impact on a sector that has really struggled in the recession. The issue we face now is finding the skilled candidates needed to fulfil these projects and keep momentum in the industry going.” 

Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, comments:

“With another month of data showcasing a strong rise in the number of appointments and job offers on the table, it seems that business is warming to calls for investment from Mark Carney.  Improved market conditions, higher activity levels amongst clients and generally stronger levels of confidence amongst employers are certainly one of the major factors underpinning the latest rise in placements.

“Only last week the Bank of England argued that recovery will only be sustainable over the long term if regions beyond London grow strongly.  Against this backdrop it is also welcome news to see permanent placements increase across the whole country.  The North is showing strongest growth, with the Midlands driving a rise in temporary placements.  It’s a sign that local economies are picking up and gives hope that economic recovery is not dependent on one area or sector.

“Yet it remains worrying that employees are clearly still not sharing employers’ growing faith in recovery.  Demand for staff may be up, but the number of individuals putting themselves on the market has dropped for the fifth consecutive month. Perhaps the pay on offer has to rise to encourage staff to ‘make the move’.  If it doesn’t we could be about to witness a growing gap between what the employers need and what employees are prepared to do.”,1VZ1S,44H6K8,6RQ7S,1

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply