10 May, 2017

Permanent placements growth slows

The Markit/REC Report on Jobs – published today – provides the most comprehensive guide to the UK labour market, drawing on original survey data provided by recruitment consultancies.

Slowest increase in permanent placements for seven months

Growth in permanent staff placements slowed to its weakest for seven months during April, but was nonetheless solid overall. In contrast, temp billings increased at a sharp and accelerated pace that was the fastest seen in 2017 so far.

Sharper drop in candidate availability

The availability of permanent and temporary candidates declined at sharper rates in April, with the former posting the quicker pace of reduction. Notably, both categories saw the steepest deteriorations in candidate availability for 16 months.

Strong growth in salaries sustained…

Although growth in permanent starting salaries edged down to a four-month low in April, it remained sharp overall and stronger than the series average. Meanwhile, hourly pay rates for short-term staff increased at the sharpest pace in 2017 so far.

…as demand for staff remains sharp

Vacancies continued to rise markedly in April for both permanent and temporary/contract staff. This was despite growth in demand for both types of staff softening slightly since the previous month.

Regional variation

The Midlands saw the fastest rate of expansion in permanent placements, closely followed by Scotland. Meanwhile, London saw the slowest increase.

Temp billings growth was recorded across all monitored regions, led by Scotland and London. The weakest increase was registered in the South of England.

Sector variation

Latest data pointed to divergent sector trends, with demand for staff rising sharply across the private sector, but declining across the public sector. Demand for private sector permanent and temporary staff rose sharply despite the rates of expansion easing to four- and three-month lows, respectively.

At the same time, vacancies for permanent public sector staff declined for the second month in a row, albeit slightly. Demand for public sector temporary workers meanwhile fell for the first time since January, though only slightly.

Engineering was the most in-demand category for permanent staff in April, closely followed by IT & Computing and Nursing/Medical/Care. Nonetheless, strong expansions were seen across the board at the start of the second quarter.

April data signalled a broad-based upturn in demand for temporary/contract workers in the UK.
Nursing/Medical/Care continued to top the table, while Hotels & Catering placed second in the overall rankings.

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