UK: Demand for Permanent and Temporary Candidates Grows
Source: Staffing Industry Analysts
Demand for both permanent and temporary staff in the UK was at the highest since May according to the latest Market/Recruitment and Employment Confederation Report on Jobs.
The report also shows that the volume of permanent placements made by recruitment agencies increased for the third month in a row in October. The rate of growth quickened to a sharp pace that was the fastest seen in eight months. Around 40% of survey respondents reported an increase in placements, compared to 29% that saw a fall. Agencies reported that improved demand and new clients had boosted the number of people placed in permanent roles in the latest survey period.
Billings received by agencies from the employment of temporary/contract staff increased in October, thereby extending the current trend to three-and-a-half years. Moreover, the rate of expansion strengthened to a five-month record.
The robust increase in staff appointments was supported by increased employee vacancies in the latest survey period. October signalled a further increase in demand for staff, with the Jobs Vacancy Index rising from 56.9 in September to a five-month high of 59.4 in October.
“Despite ongoing uncertainty the UK jobs market is thriving again in most areas of the UK. Job vacancies are back to levels not seen since April, and for the third consecutive month recruiters have reported an increase in the amount of people finding permanent jobs,” Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said.
“This is a great place to be but there are real threats coming over the hill. Candidate availability has been falling for three and a half years. There are more vacancies than there are people to fill them in many sectors, including engineering, construction and healthcare” Green said.
Meanwhile, permanent staff starting salaries rose further in October, with the rate of increase picking up to its strongest for five months. Growth in hourly pay rates for temporary/contract staff quickened slightly from September’s 40-month low, but remained relatively modest overall. The availability of permanent candidates continued to decline in October, and at a steeper rate than in September.
The report also shows that the availability of temporary/contract staff fell at the softest rate in four months.
The North saw the quickest increase in permanent placements at the start of the fourth quarter, followed by the Midlands. However, London and Scotland registered marginal declines.
As was the case with permanent placements, the North saw the highest increase in short-term staff billings in October. The only region monitored by the survey to see a fall in temporary billings was Scotland.
Demand for private sector staff remained robust in October, with recruitment consultancies seeing sharp increases in vacancies for both permanent and temporary posts.
In contrast, the number of available permanent and temporary roles in the public sector declined modestly in the latest survey period.
Demand rose for all permanent staff categories during October, but in varying degrees. Engineering maintained its top spot in the table, followed by IT & Computing. Meanwhile, demand was weakest for permanent roles in Hotel & Catering.
Blue Collar topped the table for temporary/contract staff demand in October. All other categories also saw an upturn in demand over the month, though Executive/Professional saw the slowest rate of growth.
“The government urgently needs to outline a strategy to address employability skills within UK education and promote apprenticeships and other routes into work. We also need immigration policies that reflect immediate labour market needs. Imposing new restrictions on people coming from abroad to fill vacancies will impact businesses’ ability to meet demand as well as the delivery of public services,” Green said. “We need Britain to remain open for business. We can’t afford to see businesses relocate overseas, taking jobs with them and leaving us poorer as a nation.”