Brexit concerns continue to hit hiring and staff availability

Uncertainty around Brexit continues to weigh heavily on hiring and staff availability, according to the latest KPMG and Recruitment & Employment Confederation ‘Report on Jobs’.

The report, released this morning, reveals the number of people placed into permanent job roles was unchanged in February, following a slight fall at the start of 2019. However, billings received from the employment of temp workers increased at a faster pace. Some of the report’s other findings include:

  • Despite easing since January, deteriorations in both permanent and temporary worker availability remained historically sharp.
  • Despite a continued marked rise in demand for staff, the rate of vacancy growth dropped for the second month running to a near two-and-a-half-year low. Softer increases in demand were signalled for both permanent and temporary staff in February.
  • Higher numbers of permanent staff appointments in London and the South of England offset declines in the Midlands and North of England. Renewed increases in temp billings were witnessed in London and the North of England, while growth held up in the Midlands and the South of England.
  • Demand for both private and public sector staff rose during February, with sharp increases witnessed for both permanent and temporary job openings in the private sector. More muted growth in demand was seen for permanent and short-term staff in the public sector, following reductions in January.
  • Permanent staff vacancies rose across all 10 monitored categories during February, with the steepest increase in demand signalled for permanent IT/computing workers, while the weakest was registered for construction staff.
  • Nursing/medical/care topped temporary staff demand midway through the first quarter, while vacancies also grew across other categories monitored by the survey, apart from retail.

REC CEO Neil Carberry commented: “While numbers are clearly weaker than we have seen over the past few years, the survey suggests businesses are ready to create jobs if the investment environment is right.

“As we draw closer to Brexit day, uncertainty and concern has grown, putting the sustainability of positive jobs news at risk. Firms are looking for politicians to find a solution to the current deadlock that gives them the certainty they need to invest and create jobs.”

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