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Availability of staff falls as perm placements rapidly rise

Temporary/contract staff billings also rose at a faster pace, with growth the sharpest in five months.        

Vacancy growth eases but still strong

Demand for staff continued to rise in November. Although easing to a 29-month low, the rate of expansion remained marked overall.  

Candidate availability falls at sharper rate

The availability of staff for both permanent and temporary/contract roles fell at sharp and accelerated rates in November.  Shortages of candidates for a range of skill-sets were reported by panellists.  

Pay growth remains marked

Permanent staff salaries continued to rise in November. The latest increase was again strong, with panellists citing competition for qualified staff. Temporary/contract staff hourly pay rates rose at the fastest pace in three months, although growth remained slower than that seen for permanent employees.  

Regional and sector variation

Growth of permanent placements was broad-based across the monitored English regions during November, with the fastest rate of expansion signalled in the North.

Midlands-based agencies reported the fastest growth of temp billings during November, while the slowest rise was signalled by those in the South.  

November data signalled that demand for staff remained considerably stronger in the private sector than the public sector, with private sector permanent employees seeing the strongest growth overall. In contrast, public sector permanent staff saw a decline in demand for their services.

All nine categories of permanent staff registered increased demand in November. The strongest growth was reported for IT & Computing workers, closely followed by Accounting/Financial and Executive/Professional staff.

Nursing/Medical/Care remained in top spot in the temp staff demand & lsquo;league table’ in November, just ahead of Accounting/Financial, IT & Computing and Engineering. Construction was the only sector where a fall was signalled, albeit marginal.

 

REC chief executive Kevin Green, says, “Businesses are confident, with more people finding permanent jobs each month and pay increasing – this is a great way to cap a bumper year for the UK labour market.

“Such is the demand for staff that the availability of people to fill temporary roles has fallen at the sharpest rate in 18 years. In part this has been driven by businesses taking on additional staff for the Christmas period.

“In some sectors, skill shortages could make this a sad Christmas. For example, more than two thirds of recruiters that supply drivers said that a shortage of candidates will cause chaos for shops and delayed deliveries for shoppers.

“As we look ahead to 2016 the data suggests that the public sector is starting to cut its recruitment activity as austerity bites, while the private sector is still hunting for skills and talent.”

Bernard Brown, Partner at KPMG, commented, “November saw a further tightening of labour market conditions, with few sectors remaining immune from the effects of ongoing skills shortages.  Wages in the construction sector rose yet again, with the ONS reporting weekly earnings surging by 6%, double the average pay rise awarded across the rest of the economy.

“Recruiters will hope the annual influx of job hunters in January will reinvigorate the market and replenish the rapidly diminishing pool of available talent.”

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