Written by Kimberley Startup | March 5, 2014
This time a month ago, we reported on the latest findings of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs, which showed a pronounced rise in staff appointments, music to the ears of any recruitment advertising agency. That good news has continued in the most recent report, with vacancies rising at their fastest pace since May 1998.
The Report on Jobs is always a good place to look for a comprehensive overview of the current UK labour market, not least as it uses recruitment consultancies’ original survey data. What the latest report showed was that January was another strong month for both permanent placements and temp billings, with the former again firmly on the increase – even if the pace of expansion was just short of December’s 45-month peak. Temp billings also heightened at a slightly slower rate than the 15-year peak seen in the last month of 2013, although the figures still made extremely positive reading for any UK recruitment advertising agency.
Staff demand was another area in which significant growth was recorded – indeed, this pace of expansion has not been seen for more than fifteen-and-a-half years. There was also a sustained marked increase in permanent salaries, at a pace comparable to the six-year high seen in the previous report. A fact that might not make such pleasant reading for many a recruitment advertising agency is the further decline in both permanent and temporary staff availability in the first month of the year. However, these decreases were at least the slowest for three months.
There remained much variation between different regions and sectors in the most recent report. However, they also had much in common, with all four monitored English regions seeing marked rises in both permanent placements and temp billings. Permanent recruitment saw its most pronounced increase in the South. For temp billings growth, the North came out on top, beating the Midlands into second.
Both the public and private sectors saw greater staff demand in January, with the quickest growth being recorded by the latter. Permanent staff in both sectors found themselves experiencing a greater increase in demand for their services than their temporary counterparts. Among those permanent workers, it was engineers who remained most sought-after over the month, although construction workers were in hardly any less demand. However, even other categories saw marked rates of growth.
Many a recruitment advertising agency will also be pleased to read of the heightened demand for all nine types of temporary/contract staff during the month, with engineering seeing the strongest rate of expansion here, too. The construction category, however, saw the slowest growth.
Bernard Brown, KPMG Partner and Head of Business Services, reflected: “Employer confidence continues to grow, with the thirst for new staff hitting a fifteen-and-a-half year high in January. In a week showing improvements to UK construction figures and growth across the Eurozone manufacturing industry, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if other sectors begin to report peaks in performance.”