- Permanent placements and temp billings growth both at 27-month lows
- Candidate availability falls at sharper rate
- Further rise in starting salaries
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.
Growth of staff appointments eases further…
Although permanent placements continued to rise in August, the rate of growth eased further, hitting a 27-month low. Similarly, temporary/contract staff billings increased at the slowest pace since May 2013.
…restricted by skill shortages
The availability of candidates for permanent roles fell further in August, with the rate of decline accelerating to the sharpest for a year. Temporary/contract staff availability was also down, with the latest drop the most marked in ten months.
Salary growth remains strong…
Starting salaries for people placed in permanent roles continued to increase in August. The rate of growth remained strong relative to the survey’s historical average. Temporary/contract staff pay rose further, albeit at the slowest pace in 16 months.
…supported by robust demand
Vacancies continued to rise at a marked rate in August. Demand for permanent staff continued to rise at a faster pace than that for temps, with the latter seeing the slowest growth for 26 months.
Regional and sector variation
Midlands-based consultancies signalled the strongest growth of permanent placements during the latest survey period, while those in London recorded the weakest increase.
The Midlands saw the fastest growth of short-term appointments, while the slowest expansion was signalled in the North.
Private sector permanent roles saw the strongest growth in August. In contrast, public sector permanent vacancies rose only marginally.
Nursing/Medical/Care remained the most sought-after category for permanent staff in August. The slowest (albeit still solid) rate of expansion was signalled for Hotel & Catering workers.
As was the case for permanent staff, Nursing/Medical/Care posted the fastest increase in demand for temporary/contract workers in August. Executive/Professional was the slowest-growing category.
REC chief executive Kevin Green, says:
“The UK jobs market is entering a new phase. Because of the scarcity of talent available, we expect that employment will continue to grow but at a slower speed than we have seen over the past two years. Likewise, unemployment is likely to slow its rate of descent as we move closer to full employment.
“In response to worsening skills shortages, employers are focussing on retaining the staff they have and this will promote wage growth. Better investment in training and motivating the current workforce should also help to improve productivity.
“Clearly, major problems remain. Across the private sector and in vital public sector roles such as teaching and healthcare, talent shortages are reaching crisis point. We need a more active focus on skills and progression from the government as well as a balanced approach to immigration to get to grips with these entrenched workforce issues.”
Bernard Brown, Partner at KPMG, comments:
“There was no respite for recruiters in August, who were left struggling to fill vacancies after a vast swathe of Britain’s job seekers appeared to take the summer off. The number of people looking for a job fell at the sharpest rate seen for a year, leaving unfilled posts across the economy.
“Many candidates may have simply shelved their plans for the summer, believing their prospects to be stronger in September. However this is of little comfort to those businesses needing staff now to meet demand for their goods and services.
“This frustrating dynamic continues to have an inflationary effect on pay, which rose yet again in August. With candidates having their pick of the job market, companies need to offer more than just cash. In order to attract and retain the best people businesses need to offer a bespoke package of benefits, including flexible working, which can be tailored to suit the individual and their priorities and commitments.”