Report on UK Jobs – May 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 May are:

Sharpest increase in staff appointments for over two years…

May survey data highlighted a sharp and accelerated increase in permanent staff placements across the UK. Furthermore, the rate of expansion was the fastest for 25 months. Temp billings also rose at a steeper pace, and recorded the strongest rate of growth since March 2015.

…supported by marked increase in demand for staff

The number of staff vacancies rose sharply for both permanent and temporary roles in the UK during May. Notably the
index measuring total growth of demand for staff reached a 21-month peak in the latest survey period.

Candidate numbers continue to decline sharply…

The availability of staff to fill vacancies continued to decline during May. While the number of candidates for permanent roles dropped at the quickest pace since August 2015, the deterioration in temporary candidate availability softened slightly since April.

…leading to further robust increase in salaries

Average starting salaries for people placed into permanent jobs increased at the quickest rate in three months during May. Hourly rates of pay for temporary/contract staff also rose sharply, despite the rate of growth softening since April.

Commenting on the latest survey results, Tom Hadley, REC Director of Policy says:

“The challenges facing the next government are stark. Demand for staff is the strongest in almost two years, but the number of people available to take those jobs has plummeted. Official data shows unemployment has dropped to the lowest level since 1975, and EU citizens are leaving the UK in droves. Employers seeking to fill vacancies are running out of options.”

“Skill shortages are causing headaches in many sectors. The NHS for example is becoming increasingly reliant on short-term cover to fill gaps in hospital rotas because there aren’t enough nurses to take permanent roles. Meanwhile, the shortage of people with cyber security skills is a particular concern in many businesses in the wake of the recent high-profile WannaCry attacks.”

“Whichever party forms the next government must focus on improving the employability of our young people and boosting inclusion for underrepresented groups. Alongside this, these figures clearly show that in many sectors we need more, not fewer people so that businesses can grow and public services continue to deliver.”


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