Report on UK Jobs – March 2017

The Report on UK Jobs is unique in providing the most comprehensive guide to the UK jobs market, drawing on original survey data provided by recruitment consultancies and employers to provide the first indication each month of labour market trends.

The main findings for March are:

Permanent placements increase at softer pace

Latest data pointed to sustained growth in permanent placements during March. Although the pace of expansion eased from February’s one-year record, it was solid overall. Meanwhile, growth in temp billings picked up slightly from February’s four-month low and was sharper than seen on average in 2016.

Supply of candidates drops markedly

The supply of permanent candidates fell sharply in March, although the rate of reduction weakened slightly since February’s 13-month peak. The availability of short-term staff fell at a similarly sharp rate that was the quickest recorded since January 2016.

Salary growth remains sharp…

Permanent starting salaries continued to increase sharply in March, despite the rate of pay growth edging down slightly from an 11-month high in the previous month. However, temp pay growth weakened to a rate that, though solid, was the weakest since last November.

…as demand for staff holds close to 18-month peak

March saw a further steep increase in job vacancies across the UK, with growth of demand for staff holding close an 18- month record. Permanent staff vacancies increased at a rate only fractionally slower than the previous month, while demand for short-term staff also remained robust.

Commenting on the latest survey results, REC Chief Executive Kevin Green says:

“Finding people to do the jobs on offer is rapidly becoming employers’ biggest headache and many are reporting an increasing number of white collar jobs as hard to fill, including in the IT and financial sectors.”

“Shortages of appropriately skilled, willing and able candidates was a problem before the referendum. Our concern is that Brexit will make the problem worse, particularly if onerous restrictions are imposed on people coming from the EU to work.”

“Also, economic uncertainty about future prospects is having a detrimental effect on employees’ willingness to risk a career move at this time, which seems to be driving down candidate availability. Our data shows London and the South, where financial services jobs are concentrated, as particularly suffering from low candidate availability for permanent job vacancies.

“This shrinking talent pool of available candidates means that businesses are boosting the starting salaries and hourly rates they are prepared to offer to the right candidate. So for job hunters willing to move roles at the moment, there are financial rewards on offer – especially it seems in finance, IT and other management and office-based professional roles.”