The Markit/REC Report on Jobs for July has indicated that permanent placements increased to the greatest extent in 27 months. At the same time, growth in temp billings improved to a near two-and-a-half year high.
Recruitment agencies signalled a sustained and marked increase in demand for staff. Furthermore, overall demand for staff rose at its joint-strongest pace for 23 months (on par with May 2017). The availability of both permanent and temporary workers continued to fall sharply during July. The rate of reduction eased for permanent staff, but the availability of temporary candidates declined at the quickest pace for just over a year-and-a-half.
When it comes to starting salaries for successful permanent candidates these rose further in July, with the rate of inflation reaching a 20-month record. At the same time, hourly pay rates for short-term staff continued to increase sharply.
The strongest upturn in permanent placements was recorded in the Midlands, closely followed by the North of England. The weakest increase was seen in London, where growth softened to an eight-month low. All monitored regions saw sharp increases in temp billings during July, led by the North of England.
"The jobs market continues to confound expectations with both permanent and temporary placements growing at the fastest rate for over two years,” notes Kevin Green, REC chief executive. “Starting salaries are also still rising, so for workers who want to boost their earnings now is a good time to consider moving job.
"It's clear that employers are having to work even harder to fill jobs as vacancies rise and candidate availability shrinks,” he continues. “UK employment remains at an all-time high and looks set to keep improving. The parts of the economy most reliant on European workers are under even more pressure as many EU workers return home. Employers are not just struggling to hire the brightest and the best but also people to fill roles such as chefs, drivers and warehouse workers.”
Green believes London in particular is feeling the Brexit effect noting that while hiring is still growing it is doing so at a much slower rate compared with every other region of the UK. Financial services, a crucial part of the London labour market, are not hiring in their usual quantity as the uncertainty caused by Brexit makes them hesitant.
"We can't ignore the importance of our relationship with the EU to employers,” he concludes. “If we want to keep our jobs market successful and vibrant, we must make it easier, not harder, for employers to access the people they need."