REC Report on Jobs maintains strong recruitment market

Aspire To Aspire

This month’s Report on Jobs published by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG has recorded stronger growth of staff placements for the month of February. Overall, permanent staff placements rose at a rate that was the fastest since last October. Temp billings meanwhile increased at the sharpest pace in five months. At the same time, vacancies available for people seeking employment continued to rise in the month. Overall demand for staff rose at the strongest rate in four months, with both permanent and temporary workers seeing faster increases.

The demand for candidates is clearly driving up pay as 29.2 per cent of recruiters report that starting salaries are higher than last month. Pay growth is especially strong in the Midlands, where 38.1 per cent of recruiters report higher starting salaries.

Recruiters report marketeers and media professionals in strong demand as economic confidence continues to improve and the construction sector is also improving with demand highest for quantity surveyors (perm) and architects (temp).

Private sector demand for staff remained substantially stronger than that from the public sector and the sharpest increase overall was signalled for private sector permanent employees. Engineering was the most sought-after category for permanent staff in the latest survey period, ahead of Nursing/Medical/Care. The weakest area was for Hotel & Catering workers.

“Recruiters are reporting talent shortages across the economy as businesses expand in response to increasing demand,” commented Kevin Green, REC chief executive. “This is a major challenge for employers, however those seeking work are feeling the benefit. A third of recruiters say that starting salaries for permanent jobs are increasing as competition for skilled staff drives up pay.

“The question now is about sustainability,” he continued. “Skills shortages are threatening economic growth so politicians need to help business  address this issue by equipping jobseekers with the skills that businesses require and ensuring employers can access the skilled workers they need from abroad.”

He added: “This month’s report again highlights skill shortages in engineering and construction, which threaten to delay major infrastructure projects such as HS2 and new housebuilding initiatives.

“Candidates for marketing and customer service roles are now also becoming hard to fill. Demand for these roles is a sign that businesses are responding to increasing consumer and business confidence.”

Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, noted: “Recovery in the job market is gaining real traction, and this should help shore up consumer confidence in the run up to the election.

“However, while the job market might be booming, demand for staff is by no means universal across the sectors,” he said. “The recovery is being heavily driven by hiring activity by UK plc, while the public sector remains in a semi-stasis ahead of further anticipated cuts later in the year.

“The availability of skilled candidates remains a significant concern and businesses are already fiercely competing to secure top talent,” he said. “This dynamic is driving significant salary growth in pockets of the market, such as the IT and engineering sectors, where the demand/supply mismatch is particularly prevalent.”

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