Growth of permanent appointments ‘still going strong’

Friday 7 November 2014

The number of people securing jobs through employment agencies has risen for the 25th consecutive month, according to the new Report on Jobs from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG. 

It was also noted that the rate of growth of permanent appointments was still going strong, although it did ease. However, the rate of job expansion was the slowest since November 2013. 

In addition, temporary and contract staff billings increased for the 18th month in a row, although the latest rise was the least marked since June 2013. 

These figures reflect a slower rise in demand for staff, with the rate of growth easing to a ten-month low. 

Other findings included the moderation of pay growth, which was indicated by findings from October. Permanent staff saw their salaries rise at the weakest rate since February, while temporary/contract staff pay growth dropped to a five-month low. 

Meanwhile, the availability of candidates dropped sharply in October, with a marked decline in permanent and temporary staff availability.

Kevin Green, chief executive at REC, commented: “The good news about our jobs market continues, with two solid years of growth in the number of people finding new permanent jobs via recruiters. The number of vacancies is continuing to rise, with businesses in all sectors of the economy looking to hire more staff.”

He added that this does not mean it is prudent to “become complacent”. He called for the government to help businesses take on staff by doing everything it can to protect employers from any shocks or uncertainty that may arise. 

One area he specified was the idea that holiday pay should be backdated, and it should be ensured that businesses are not subjected to “a barrage of new cases” thanks to this week’s ruling. 

Mr Green added: “If we want everyone to benefit from the economic recovery, and wage growth to accelerate we can't keep making it more expensive to employ people.
“Ongoing candidate shortages are a major barrier to growth. Despite the political sensitivities around immigration the reality is that we need to bring in more skilled workers not fewer.”

In terms of the regional aspect, permanent placements increased fastest in the Midlands during October, with the slowest growth occurring in the north. This region also came top for temp billings growth during October, with the south experiencing the slowest rise. 

Furthermore, data from October demonstrated that the growth of demand for permanent staff was significantly stronger in the private sector than the public sector, while the most significant increase overall was private sector permanent workers. 

Engineering stuck at the top when it came to demand for permanent staff in October, which was slightly ahead of IT and Computing. Meanwhile, Hotel and Catering employees saw the slowest growth.

In addition, the nursing/medical/care was the most sought-after category for short-term workers in October. Engineering followed closely. Construction workers, meanwhile, experienced the least marked increase in demand for their services. 

By Victoria McDonnell

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