Permanent appointments down only fractionally
Second month of growth in temp billings puts it at 14-month high
Demand for staff increases at stronger rate
Nursing/Medical/Care remains most in-demand staffing sector
Pay growth remains muted amid rising candidate availability
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.
Permanent placements broadly stable; faster rise in temp billings
The rate of decline in permanent placements moderated to near-stagnation in September, with only a fractional fall recorded. Temporary staff billings rose for the second month running, with the rate of expansion quickening to a 14-month high.
Demand for staff strengthens
Job vacancies continued to increase in September, with the rate of growth accelerating to a 13-month high. Stronger expansions were signalled for both permanent and temporary workers.
Candidate availability rises further
Growth of permanent staff availability was recorded for the fifth consecutive month in September, albeit at the slowest pace since May. Temporary staff availability continued to rise at a solid rate.
Slight increase in staff pay
Although pay increased for both permanent and temporary staff in September, in both cases the rate of inflation was only marginal.
Regional and sector variation
The drop in permanent placements was centred on London, although the rate of contraction eased to the slowest in four months. Employment increased moderately elsewhere across the English regions.
Growth of short-term staff appointments was again strong in the Midlands during the latest survey period, while the South and North also saw increases. London, however, registered a decline.
Trends in demand for staff again differed by sector during September. Private sector vacancies continued to rise, but there was a further reduction in public sector vacancies.
Nursing/Medical/Care remained the most in-demand category for both permanent and temporary staff in September.
Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, comments: “It must be hugely encouraging for job seekers to see figures suggesting that demand for staff is on the increase, particularly as the data now shows a 13-month high. Add to this news that permanent roles are stabilising and temporary positions have seen another month of growth and it would be easy to assume that the corner is being turned.
“However, the jobs market cannot be viewed in isolation as any sustainable improvement in employment remains dependent on the growth of the economy as a whole. Whilst some parts of the country may be showing signs of recovery, others are lagging behind and until an upward trajectory is seen across the whole of the UK, the jobs market will remain fragile with warnings to ‘handle with care’.
“If we are to see sustained growth in employment demand, we need to get growth back into the economy itself. That is why the picture remains fragile, and a jobs recovery is by no means assured.”
Recruitment and Employment Confederation chief executive Kevin Green says: “This month’s figures show that the temporary labour market has bouncebackability. The resilience of the UK labour market in the face of what official figures class as a double dip recession continues to be remarkable. This increase in the use of temps for the second month in a row could be a sign of optimism among employers, and that they are gearing up for future growth. It certainly puts pay to any idea that changes to Agency Worker Regulations last year dissuaded British businesses from using temps as a vital component of their workforce. Temporary staff are an efficient, flexible way for businesses to increase their workforce and grow their businesses out of recession.
“The data provide encouraging signs for the economy, with demand for staff continuing to increase and candidate availability rising. However, we know that confidence is fragile and a big external shock could derail us from this promising course.”
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The Report on Jobs is a monthly publication produced by Markit on behalf of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation and KPMG. The report features original survey data which provide the most up-to-date and comprehensive monthly picture of recruitment, employment and employee earnings trends available.
The Report features original research data from Markit, collected via questionnaire from a panel of 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies. In 2010/11, some 1,049,333 people were employed in either temporary or contract work through consultancies and 604,193 people were placed in permanent positions through consultancies. Data for the monthly survey were first collected in October 1997 and are collected at the end of each month, with respondents asked to specify the direction of change in a number of survey variables.
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Recruitment and Employment Confederation
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The REC is the professional body representing the UK’s £24.6 billion private recruitment and staffing industry with more than 8,000 recruitment agencies and 6,000 recruitment consultants in membership. There are more than 1 million temporary workers registered with UK agencies who are deployed in industry, commerce and the public services every day.
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