Permanent staff placements rebound in August, says REC
The Markit/REC Report on Jobs for August has been released.
Latest data showed a rise in the volume of permanent staff placements during August, following decreases seen in the preceding two months around the Brexit vote. Anecdotal evidence suggested that some panellists had decided to move ahead with hires that had previously been placed on hold.
Having eased to a ten-month low in July, growth of short-term staff billings picked up in August. Panellists indicated that strong client activity levels had underpinned the latest increase.
Starting salaries for successful permanent candidates continued to rise in August. The rate of growth was solid and faster than in July, with panellists citing skill shortages and greater numbers of senior-level placements.
The supply of candidates to fill vacancies remained an issue in August, with consultants signalling sharper falls in both permanent and temporary staff availability.
Higher permanent placements were recorded across each of the monitored regions apart from London (where the pace of decline eased markedly).
Growth of short-term staff billings was broad-based by region, with the North posting the fastest rise.
The strongest growth of vacancies was recorded for private sector temporary workers during August. Public sector permanent staff was the only category to see a decline.
Nursing/medical/care remained the most sought-after category for permanent staff in August, just ahead of engineering. Construction was the only category where a decline in demand was reported.
Growth of demand was broad-based across all monitored categories of temporary/contract staff during August. The fastest rise was signalled for hotel & catering workers, followed by engineering staff.
REC chief executive, Kevin Green, said, “The UK jobs market returned to pre-referendum patterns in August as the initial shock of the vote result subsided. Permanent hiring returned to growth as employers confirmed appointments that had been on hold or delayed in June and July. Starting salaries also improved, with employers having to offer more to attract candidates who might be reluctant to move jobs in the current climate.
"Despite this month's positive data, it is still too early to make conclusions about what impact the vote to leave the EU will have on the jobs market. For example, the fact that vacancy growth has softened is concerning, suggesting that hiring could be volatile over the coming months.
"The priority now is to shore up business confidence. Much of this depends on progress the government can make in its difficult task of ensuring that UK businesses have the ability to trade with their neighbours in the EU. Developing an immigration policy which will allow employers to access enough candidates for the jobs available is vital. Employers from the public sector to agriculture and engineering to construction could be adversely affected if access to workers from outside the UK is limited.”
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