Written by Kimberley Startup | February 3, 2014
Although there are many places recruitment experts can look for an indication of the state of the job market, one of the most trusted is the Report on Jobs of the Recruitment and Employment Federation (REC) and KPMG. Published each month, its use of recruitment consultancies’ original survey data enables a comprehensive overview of the UK labour market. Furthermore, the news from the most recent report is good, with a rise in permanent places that is the strongest since March 2010.
There was acceleration in the growth of temp billings, with the fastest pace of growth for more than 15 years. There was also a continued near 15-year high in vacancy growth, mimicking the November report. Permanent salaries also increased at a pace unmatched for over six years, and temporary/contract personnel saw another pay rise, although at a pace slightly slower than the previous month’s.
Recruiters are having a tougher time finding candidates, however, as December saw a sharp decline in the availability of staff to fill permanent positions. Not since November 2004 has such a steep dip been recorded, and a fall was also seen in the availability of temporary/contract staff, although this was not as substantial as November’s nine-year record.
Recruitment experts will also take an interest in the continuing significant regional and sector variation. Scoring the fastest increase in both permanent replacements and temp billings in the final month of 2013 was the Midlands, followed in both instances by the North.
The most recent survey data also showed much greater demand for staff in the private sector than the public sector, again in line with an ongoing trend. Whereas vacancy growth rose markedly in the private sector in December for both permanent and temporary workers, the month was one of stagnation as far as demand for permanent staff in the public sector was concerned. There was still a solid rise in public sector temporary vacancies, however.
There was also heightened demand for all nine of the permanent staff categories covered by the survey during the month. Although Executive/Professional workers saw the strongest rate of expansion, there were also healthy increases in demand for IT & Computing, Nursing/Medical/Care and Accounting/Financial expertise.
Demand was also on the up for all nine temporary/contract staff categories in December, with the fastest growth being recorded by IT & Computing, strong figures also being posted for Nursing/Medical/Care and Accounting/Financial.
As Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG observed: “Combine the latest job figures with news that business confidence has reached a new high and it’s easy to share the renewed sense of optimism amongst employers. Permanent placements alone have hit a 4-year peak and with temporary hires accelerating to a 15-year high there is clearly room for corporate investment and, with it, job creation.”
Those words and the latest statistics will be music to the ears of many of those consulting recruitment experts – both candidates and companies looking for the finest talent.