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Posted 10th May 2019 • Written by •

Permanent staff appointments by recruitment consultancies across the UK declined again in April, though the rate of reduction softened from March's 32-month record and was only slight, according to the latest Report on Jobs from IHS Markit/REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) and professional services firm KPMG. At the same time, billings from the recruitment of temp workers rose at a quicker pace amid reports of firm demand for short-term staff.

Despite the rebound in temp billings, growth remained among the slowest seen over the past three years.

According to the report, recruitment consultants widely commented that Brexit-related uncertainty had impacted on hiring decisions.

Meanwhile, the total vacancies index fell from 55.5 in March to 53.6 in April, pointing to a softer increase in overall demand for staff and was the lowest reading recorded since August 2012. The weaker rise in overall vacancies was largely driven by softer demand for permanent staff. The latest increase in permanent job postings, though strong, was the slowest recorded since August 2012.

By sector, IT & Computing topped the rankings for permanent staff demand, closely followed by Nursing/Medical/Care and Engineering.

The quickest increase in temporary staff vacancies was seen in the Nursing/Medical/Care sector.

The REC also reported that staff availability declined in April with fewer candidates available to fill roles. The supply of permanent workers continued to contract at a quicker pace than that seen for short-term staff, but rates of reduction remained historically marked in both cases.

Turning to pay, recruitment agencies signalled a further sharp increase in starting salaries for permanent workers in April while temporary staff pay also increased for the seventy-fifth month running in April.

Neil Carberry, Recruitment & Employment Confederation chief executive, commented, “Today’s report shows the continued strength, agility and flexibility of the UK labour market. In uncertain times, employers are turning to temporary work to support their business and offer people opportunity while the long-term economic picture is unclear.

“There are signs that the jobs market is gently weakening for permanent roles, despite ongoing issues of skills and candidate shortages. This too is likely to be associated with uncertainty about the future path of our economy,” Carberry said.


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