Pace of permanent placement growth slows

Published this week, the Markit/REC Report on Jobs uses original survey data from recruitment consultancies to provide comprehensive insight into the current UK labour market.

Report highlights include the slowing of growth in permanent placements, temporary billings rising at the sharpest rate for 4 months, the steepest drop in candidate availability for 16 months, and ongoing marked demand for permanent and short-term staff.

REC Chief Executive, Kevin Green, noted: “Candidate availability is at a 16-month low and recruiters are flagging a shortage of suitable applicants for more than 60 different roles from cleaner to accountant”.  

The growth in permanent staff placements slowed to its weakest for seven months during April, but was nonetheless solid overall. In contrast, temp billings increased at a sharp and accelerated pace that was the fastest seen in 2017 so far. 

The report also reveals a sharp decline in the availability of permanent and temporary candidates in April, with the former reducing at a faster pace. Both categories saw the steepest deteriorations in candidate availability for 16 months.  

By region, the slowest growth was noted in London, with the fastest rates of expansion seen in the Midlands, closely followed by Scotland. Temp billings growth was recorded across all monitored regions, led by Scotland and London. The weakest increase was registered in the South of England. 

By sector, the data points to divergent trends. Demand for staff rose sharply across the private sector and declined in the public sector. Demand for private sector permanent and temporary staff rose sharply despite the rates of expansion easing to four- and three-month lows, respectively. 

Engineering was the most in-demand category for permanent staff in April, closely followed by IT & Computing and Nursing/Medical/Care. Nonetheless, strong expansions were seen across the board at the start of the second quarter.

April data signalled a broad-based upturn in demand for temporary/contract workers in the UK. Nursing/Medical/Care continued to top the table, while Hotels & Catering placed second in the overall rankings.

At the same time, vacancies for permanent public sector staff declined slightly for the second month in a row. Demand for public sector temporary workers meanwhile also fell slightly for the first time since January.    

Meanwhile, growth in permanent starting salaries edged down to a four-month low in April, remaining sharp overall and stronger than the series average.  Hourly pay rates for short-term staff increased at the fastest pace of the year so far. 

REC Chief Executive Kevin Green said: “Demand for staff is growing within all sectors and all regions of the UK, but there are fewer and fewer people available to fill the vacancies. We have the lowest unemployment rate since 2005, and people already in work are becoming more hesitant about moving jobs amid Brexit uncertainty. Meanwhile, the weakening pound and lack of clarity about future immigration rules is putting off some EU nationals from taking up roles in the UK. 

“As a result, candidate availability is at a 16-month low and recruiters are flagging a shortage of suitable applicants for more than 60 different roles from cleaner to accountant. Every shortage has wider implications, for example the exceptional reputation UK engineering enjoys globally is at risk because employers can’t find people with the skills they need.

“One thing is for certain, if British business is to thrive then whichever party forms a government after 8th June needs to address the ever-shrinking pool of suitable candidates by investing in skills and career advice for UK jobseekers, as well as safeguarding access to the workers we need from abroad. It is vital that the future immigration system is agile enough to reflect and adapt to evolving labour market needs.”   

Thursday, 11 May 2017

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Pace of permanent placement growth slows