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UK recruiters are finding it increasingly difficult to source and place staff, with employers pumping in cash to recruit amidst a backdrop of depleting talent.
According to the Markit report for the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), Brexit was a contributing factor slowing down the number of applicants, with uncertainty driving EU nationals away from the UK.
The survey, which examined 400 UK recruitment and employment agencies in July, found a ‘robust demand’ for staff, with the number of applicants placed in permanent, temporary or contract roles growing at their fastest rates for more than two years, matching figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that employment levels in the UK are at a record high.
However, the report also found that the number of available candidates for both types of work fell markedly during the month. To counteract this, pay rates for permanent jobs are increasing as a result, meeting a 20-month high, although earnings are only 1.8% higher than this time last year – the slowest rate of increase witnessed since 2014, according to the ONS.
Despite this, the REC said some of its members had noted that employers were offering higher salary rates to lure the right recruits – BBC reports.
REC Chief Executive and Member of Recruitment Grapevine’s Advisory Board, Kevin Green, comments: "It's clear that employers are having to work even harder to fill jobs as vacancies rise and candidate availability shrinks.
"The parts of the economy most reliant on European workers are under even more pressure as many EU workers return home. Employers are not just struggling to hire the brightest and the best but also people to fill roles such as chefs, drivers and warehouse workers."
The REC found that permanent starting salaries rose across all monitored UK regions, with the steepest rate of inflation seen in the South of England.
Temporary and contract staff hourly pay rates also increased again in July.