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October's REC & KPMG Report on Jobs has been published

Key points:

Permanent appointments growth still strong in October, despite easing

Pay growth moderates

Staff availability continues to decline markedly

Summary:

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. 

Growth of staff appointments eases&hellip

Permanent staff placements continued to rise in October, extending the current period of expansion to 25 months. However, the rate of expansion was the slowest since November 2013. Similarly, temporary/contract staff billings increased for an eighteenth successive month, but the latest rise was the least marked since June 2013.    

...reflecting slower rise in demand for staff

Although the number of vacancies available to candidates seeking work also increased further in October, the rate of growth eased to a 10-month low. 

Pay growth moderates

October data pointed to slower growth of staff pay. Permanent staff salaries increased at the weakest rate since February, while temporary/contract staff pay growth eased to a five-month low.

Candidate availability continues to fall sharply

Recruitment consultants reported that candidate availability remained tight in October. The rate of decline in permanent staff availability was marked, despite easing slightly to the slowest since May, while temp availability decreased at the fastest pace in three months.

Regional and sector variation

Permanent placements increased fastest in the Midlands during October, while the slowest growth was reported in the North.

As was the case for permanent placements, the Midlands led the way in terms of temp billings growth during October. The South posted the slowest rise.

October data showed that growth of demand for staff remained considerable stronger in the private sector than the public sector. The sharpest increase overall was indicated for private sector permanent workers.

Engineering remained top of the & lsquo;league table’ in terms of demand for permanent staff during October, marginally ahead of IT & Computing. The slowest growth was signalled for Hotel & Catering employees.

Nursing/Medical/Care was the most sought-after category for short-term workers in October, while Engineering took second place. Construction workers saw the least marked increase in demand for their services.

Comments:

Kevin Green, REC chief executive, says:

“The good news about our jobs market continues, with two solid years of growth in the number of people finding new permanent jobs via recruiters. The number of vacancies is continuing to rise, with businesses in all sectors of the economy looking to hire more staff.

“But we can't be complacent. The government needs to help business take on staff by doing all it can to protect employers from shocks and uncertainty. More specific advice on how far claims for holiday pay can be backdated and ensuring businesses are not subjected to a barrage of new cases in light of this week’s judgement would be a good start.

“If we want everyone to benefit from the economic recovery, and wage growth to accelerate we can't keep making it more expensive to employ people.

“Ongoing candidate shortages are a major barrier to growth. Despite the political sensitivities around immigration the reality is that we need to bring in more skilled workers not fewer.”

Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, comments:

“The slowdown in salary growth comes as little surprise, with many businesses trying to balance the books in the wake of reduced growth and output in some sectors, uncertainty over our relationship with Europe in others, and a reticence to pay over the odds when the right skills seem to be lacking.

“Inflation may be easing, but with many people either struggling on low incomes or still behind the earnings curve because of years of pay freezes, it is something employers will have to consider very carefully.  The ruling, earlier this week, on holiday and overtime pay will ensure this is an issue that will rumble on for some time.”

Full reports and historical data from the Report on Jobs are available by subscription. Please contact economics@markit.com

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