Written by Kimberley Startup | September 30, 2013
Every month, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG release their Report on Jobs, giving an invaluable and extensive insight into the UK labour market. The latest was published in early September, and clients of Webrecruit’s (http://www.webrecruit.co.uk) recruitment experts may well appreciate statistics which suggest ever-greater employer confidence.
The headline finding of the survey of recruitment firms was unquestionably a strong monthly increase in their billings from the employment of temporary/contract workers, with the rate of expansion now faster than at any point since July 1998. Nor has there been such a sharp recorded increase in demand for short-term employees since December 2000.
But August also saw another significant increase in the number of permanent placements, although growth did not match the 40-month peak recorded in July. This boost in permanent staff recruitment was aided by a rate of increase in available permanent vacancies unmatched since June 2007.
Permanent salaries increased, too, at the quickest rate since February 2008, and there was also a continued rise in temporary pay rates, the pace of inflation only slightly behind July’s five-and-a-half year high.
There were suggestions that recruiting staff became more difficult in August, as the availability of candidates to fill permanent job vacancies continued its four month decline. The fall this time around, although solid, didn’t quite match the previous month. Not for six years has there also been such a rapid decline in the availability of short-term staff, indicating the sustained popularity of temp hiring.
A greater number of permanent staff placements was recorded for all four English regions in August, with London seeing the shallowest rise, and the North, the greatest. While the public sector only showed moderately higher demand for temporary staff in the most recent survey period, with demand for permanent staff dropping for two months in a row, both permanent and temporary workers continued to be in strong demand among private sector recruiters.
The survey monitored nine types of permanent staff in August, with increased demand being noted for all of them. The sharpest rise in demand was recorded for engineering recruitment, while vacancy numbers rose slowest for hotel and catering workers. Engineering employees also saw the greatest rise in demand on a temporary/contract basis, although there was a broad-based rise in vacancy levels across all temporary/contract sectors.
Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, Bernard Brown, commented: “In the current marketplace, organisations seem increasingly willing to pay more for top talent,” adding that “Increasing the pounds in candidates pockets may sound like good news; it is – but employers must make sure they are paying the right price for the right person and not simply racing to fill a vacancy.”
Certainly, the figures are positive ones for a recovering UK economy – with recruitment agencies like Webrecruit (http://www.webrecruit.co.uk) continuing to help firms to recruit the right staff, at the right price.