Report on UK Jobs – August 2013


The Report on Jobs is unique in providing the most comprehensive guide to the UK labour 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 August are:

Temp billings growth at 15-year high…

Agencies’ billings from the employment of temporary/contract staff increased strongly in August, with the rate of expansion picking up to the fastest since July 1998. Higher temp billings were supported by the sharpest rise in demand for short-term workers since December 2000.

…while permanent placements also rise strongly

The number of staff placed in permanent roles continued to increase at a marked pace in August, although growth eased from July’s 40-month high. Underpinning the rise was the fastest increase in available permanent vacancies since June 2007.

Sharpest rise in permanent salaries since February 2008

The rate of inflation of permanent staff salaries accelerated in August, reaching its fastest pace in five-and-a-half years. Temp pay rates also continued to rise, although the pace of inflation was slightly slower than the five-and-a-half year high seen in July.

Candidate availability continues to fall

The availability of staff to fill permanent job vacancies continued to decline in August, extending the current sequence to four months. The latest fall was solid, albeit slightly weaker than in July. Reflecting the strong trend in temp hiring, the availability of short-term workers deteriorated at the sharpest rate in six years.

Commenting on the latest survey results, Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, said:

“With retail sales up and the OECD sharply increasing its growth forecast for the UK economy, it’s no surprise to see that confidence amongst employers is gaining momentum.”

“Demand for staff has increased at its sharpest rate for over six years and whilst the thirst for permanent employees remains strong, the real success story revolves around the ‘return to work’ prospects offered by the surge in temporary and short-term placements. With these roles seeing their fastest rise for 15 years, it means opportunities to get back into the labour market for people with other commitments are becoming more of a reality than a wish. If we continue on this trajectory, it could also mean that Mark Carney will have to consider raising interest rates sooner than first thought.”

“It’s a trend that is being replicated across the country, and the demand for staff is good news for prospective employees. In the current marketplace, organisations seem increasingly willing to pay more for top talent, with the latest figures showing the rate of starting salaries accelerating to a 5 and half year high. Increasing the pounds in candidates pockets may sound like good news; it is – but employers must make sure they are paying the right price for the right person and not simply racing to fill a vacancy.”

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