Permanent placements increase at softest pace in four months
January data signalled a further marked increase in permanent staff placements, despite the rate of growth easing to its slowest since September 2016.
Temp billings growth weakens slightly
Growth in temp billings remained sharp in January, in spite of the rate of expansion easing from December’s eight-month peak.
Candidate availability continues to tighten…
Recruitment agencies continued to signal a drop in candidate availability at the start of 2017. While permanent staff availability declined at a slightly faster rate, the drop in temp staff availability was the slowest in three months.
…contributing to further upward pressure on pay
Permanent staff starting salaries increased at a sharp and accelerated pace in January, with the rate of inflation the quickest in nine months. At the same time, growth in temp pay rates weakened from December’s seven-month record.
Regional and sector variation
All four English regions monitored by the survey noted increased permanent placements in January, while Scotland saw a further decline.
Temp billings increased across all monitored regions in January, with the quickest rates of expansion seen in the North and the Midlands.
January survey data showed that growth of demand for staff remained considerably stronger in the private sector compared to the public sector. Furthermore, private sector permanent staff vacancies increased at the sharpest rate for a year-and-a-half at the start of 2017, though growth in demand for temp staff weakened slightly across the sector.
At the same time, public sector demand for permanent staff weakened to a modest pace in January, while public sector vacancies for short-term staff declined slightly.
Nursing/Medical/Care was top of the ‘league table’ in terms of demand for permanent staff in January, ahead of Engineering and IT & Computing. The weakest increase in demand was seen for Hotel & Catering employees.
Demand for temporary staff increased across almost all monitored sectors in January. The strongest growth was seen in Nursing/Medical/Care, followed by Blue Collar. Meanwhile, demand declined modestly for construction workers.
REC Chief Executive Kevin Green says:
“Employers are crying out for people to fill vacancies. Recruiters say that fewer candidates are available in all regions, and this is dampening jobs growth.
“If businesses can’t find the people they need they will outsource abroad, automate activity or shut up shop, resulting in fewer jobs available to UK nationals.
“The NHS is already in turmoil because it doesn’t have enough staff and the government’s decision to prioritise immigration control over the economy in their EU negotiations means that finding candidates will become yet more difficult in the future.
“We agree that more can be done to encourage under-represented groups into work, including disabled people, single parents and older workers. But the idea that this will resolve the talent shortage is pie in the sky.”