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UK – Permanent placements increase at softest pace in six months

Growth in permanent staff placements remained at a high level in October 2017, despite the rate of increase edging down to a six-month low, according to the latest Report on Jobs from the IHS Markit and Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

The data also showed that temp billings rose at the softest pace since April, though growth remained above the survey average.

Meanwhile, staff vacancies rose sharply for permanent and temporary roles during October. This was despite growth of demand softening for the second successive month across both categories. However, data for October pointed to a further marked decline in the availability of temporary and permanent workers across the UK, with the latter noting the steeper rate of reduction.

The Report on Jobs also showed a sustained upturn in demand for staff and lower candidate availability led to further increases in pay. Starting salaries rose sharply overall, with the rate of inflation quickening to its second-strongest since November 2015. In contrast, temp pay rates rose at a pace that was the weakest since March.

“Last month, recruiters helped even more people find permanent jobs, this is great news as it shows that employers are continuing to hire,” REC Chief Executive Kevin Green said. “However, the data also shows that growth is slowing down and one of the reasons is that we simply do not have enough people for all the roles that are out there at the moment. And the number of vacancies is still getting higher. For jobseekers this is good news as employers are willing to pay higher starting wages to attract the right candidates.”

“We already know that EU workers are leaving because of the uncertainties they are facing right now. We therefore need clarity around what future immigration systems will look like,” Green said. “Otherwise, the situation will get worse and employers will face even more staff shortages.”

Data from the report also showed that temp billings rose sharply across all monitored UK regions, led by the North of England. The softest increase was seen in the Midlands.

Furthermore, Scotland registered the quickest upturn in permanent placements in October, followed by the Midlands. London meanwhile saw a solid increase after a marginal drop in September.

The private sector continued to record the quickest upturn in demand for staff, and registered sharp increases in both permanent and temporary staff vacancies. Meanwhile, growth of demand for temporary workers remained stronger than that for permanent staff in the public sector.

October data showed that Accounting/Financial remained at the top of the rankings for permanent staff demand. IT & Computing and Engineering scored second and third place, respectively. The least marked increase in permanent vacancies was seen for construction workers. 

Broad-based growth of demand for temporary staff was reported in October. The strongest increase was signalled for Nursing/Medical/Care workers, followed by Blue Collar and Accounting/Financial.