Recruiters find temp billings on the rise says Report on Jobs

Recruiters are seeing a rise in temp billings, despite uncertainty around Brexit, according to the latest KPMG/Recruitment & Employment Confederation ‘Report on Jobs’.

This month’s findings reveal a slight decline in permanent staff hiring in April, though the rate of reduction softened from March’s 32-month record. Recruiters widely commented that Brexit-related uncertainty had affected hiring decisions. However, billings from the recruitment of temp workers rose at a quicker pace amid reports of firm demand for short-term staff.

Meanwhile there was a continued decline in overall vacancies in April, signalling the weakest increase in demand for staff since August 2012, with the increase in total vacancies predominantly driven by a slower rise in permanent staff demand.

Reluctance among workers to seek new roles due to uncertainty around Brexit, combined with a generally low unemployment rate, led to a further decline in staff availability. However, both permanent and temporary worker supply deteriorated at softer rates than in March.

Greater competition for scarce candidates resulted in steep increases in pay for both permanent and temporary workers, although the rate of starting salary inflation was the softest seen for two years. In contrast, temp wages rose at their strongest rate since the start of the year.

Commenting on the findings, REC CEO Neil Carberry said: “This is a positive step for the UK’s employment market and demonstrates that business hiring is persevering in the face of possible economic fluctuation. That said, the REC is calling on the government to provide greater stability for businesses if this positivity is to be seen in permanent hiring too, which is still on the decline.

“We should be proud of how our jobs market has adapted to challenging circumstances. Resolving Brexit will bring some certainty, but we must also take bold steps to fix the underlying problems suggested by these figures, including reforming the apprenticeship levy to allow training for agency workers so that they can fill shortage roles.”

Other key findings in the report include:

  • London saw the quickest drop in permanent staff appointments of all four English regions.
  • The North of England was the only area to see an increase in permanent placements during April.
  • On a regional basis, the North of England witnessed quickest expansion in temp billings, closely followed by the South, while the Midlands saw the first reduction for just over seven years.
  • IT & computing topped the rankings for permanent staff demand, closely followed by nursing/medical/care and engineering. However, most monitored sectors noted softer increases in vacancies. Retail noted a sharper decline.
  • The quickest increase in temporary staff vacancies was once again seen in nursing/medical/care in April followed by blue collar and hotel & catering. In contrast, short-term vacancies fell in executive/professional and retail.

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