Roadmap out of lockdown lifts hiring activity in March, says Report on Jobs

The easing of lockdown measures in the UK have triggered a marked improvement in recruitment activity in March.

The latest ‘Report on Jobs’, led by professional services firm KPMG and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), points to the sharpest rise in permanent placements for nearly six years, while temp billings growth accelerated sharply.

Unsurprisingly, the anticipated upturn in business activity following the easing in Covid-19 restrictions and the UK’s impressive vaccine progress drove the quickest increase in overall vacancies since August 2018. 

As a result, there were signs of improving pay trends, with both stating salaries and temp wages expanding for the first time in three months. However, the availability of candidates remained broadly stagnant, largely due to concerns around how secure any new employment would be.

After rising only slightly in February, demand for workers grew rapidly at the end of the first quarter. Notably, the rate of expansion was the steepest seen for just over two-and-a-half years, driven by marked increases in both permanent and temporary vacancies.

Commenting on the latest results, Neil Carberry, CEO of the REC, said: “As companies start to recruit, they will need to appreciate that the labour market is still suffering from all sorts of shortages. So reviewing their hiring practices and doing things in the best way possible will matter more than ever. 

“Inclusive hiring is not a tick-box exercise – it’s about finding the best candidate for the job no matter who they are, to help your business succeed. By working with professional recruiters, business leaders can help create fairer, more inclusive and more productive workplaces.”

The report is compiled by IHS Markit from responses to questionnaires sent to a panel of around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies.

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