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Staff appointments rise at faster rates in December

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The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs – published today – provides the most comprehensive guide to the UK labour market, drawing on original survey data provided by recruitment consultancies.  

Permanent placements rise at faster rate

Recruitment consultants signalled a further increase in permanent staff appointments during December. The rate of expansion was strong, having picked up from November’s 18-month low. However, the number of job vacancies available to people seeking permanent roles rose at the slowest pace since July 2013. Short-term staff appointments increased at a sharper rate in December. The latest rise in temp billings was the strongest in three months. Average starting salaries awarded to people placed in permanent jobs continued to rise, with the rate of growth little-changed from the strong pace recorded in November. Temp pay meanwhile increased at the sharpest rate in three months.

The availability of staff to fill permanent job roles continued to fall in December. Although easing to the slowest in eight months, the rate of deterioration remained marked. Temp availability decreased sharply, with the latest reduction faster than that recorded in November.The fastest growth of permanent staff appointments was indicated in the South of England, while the slowest rise was signalled in the North.In contrast to the trend seen for permanent placements, the strongest growth of temp billings was signalled by Northern-based agencies, while the South posted the slowest expansion. 

Private sector demand for staff remained substantially stronger than that from the public sector in December. Private sector permanent staff posted the fastest increase overall. Accounting/Financial topped the demand for staff ‘league table’ in December, ahead of IT & Computing and Secretarial/Clerical. The slowest rise in demand was signalled for Construction workers. Higher levels of demand were signalled for all monitored types of temporary/contract staff in December. The joint-strongest rates of growth were reported for Nursing/Medical/Care and Blue Collar workers.

Kevin Green, REC chief executive, says “As we enter 2015 the jobs market continues its strong performance. Recruiters are helping an increasing number of businesses find new permanent employees, and skills shortages in most areas of the economy mean that competition for quality candidates is driving up starting salaries.

“Economic growth for 2015 looks sustainable, however the concern now is that political uncertainty could spook the market as we approach a general election. The prospect of increased government intervention in the labour market as promised by the Left, questions around Britain’s position in the EU which are being posed by the Right, and the potential for protracted negotiations around a hung parliament come May could affect business confidence and hence future hiring.”

Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, comments “A strong year for the UK jobs market finished with a flourish as temporary roles saw an upswing in popularity.  More than 1 in 3 recruiters suggest that employees looking for short-term roles are being increasingly spoilt for choice as organisations search for help in an effort to fulfil customer orders.

“Good news for candidates also extends into the pay packet.  Once again, a shortage of skills in key areas has led to a rise in the starting salaries on offer.  It could mean that 2015 becomes the year in which the candidate finally becomes king.”

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