The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs has found permanent and temporary appointments rising at faster rates in December. The rate of expansion for permanent placements was strong, having picked up from November’s 18 month low, however, the number of job vacancies available to people seeking permanent roles rose at the slowest pace since July 2013 indicating the increasingly tight jobs market. Short-term staff appointments also increased in December at a sharper rate. The latest rise in temp billings was the strongest in three months.
“As we enter 2015 the jobs market continues its strong performance,” said Kevin Green, REC chief executive. “Recruiters are helping an increasing number of businesses find new permanent employees and skills shortages in most areas of the economy mean that competition for quality candidates is driving up starting salaries.” Indeed, the average starting salary for permanent placements continued to rise with the rate of growth little changed from the strong pace recorded in November. Temp pay meanwhile increased at the sharpest rate in three months.
“Economic growth for 2015 looks sustainable, however the concern now is that political uncertainty could spook the market as we approach a general election,” added Green. “The prospect of increased government intervention in the labour market as promised by the left, questions around Britain’s position in the EU which are being posed by the right, and the potential for protracted negotiations around a hung parliament come May could affect business confidence and hence future hiring.”
The availability of staff to fill permanent job roles continued to fall in December. Although easing to the slowest in eight months, the rate of deterioration remained marked. Temp availability decreased sharply, with the latest reduction faster than that recorded in November.
Bernard Brown, partner and head of Business Services at KPMG said the findings indicated a strong year for the jobs market: “More than one in three recruiters suggest that employees looking for short-term roles are being increasingly spoilt for choice as organisations search for help in an effort to fulfil customer orders,” he noted. “Good news for candidates also extends into the pay packet. Once again, a shortage of skills in key areas has led to a rise in the starting salaries on offer. It could mean that 2015 becomes the year in which the candidate finally becomes king.”