Report on UK Jobs – December 2012

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 December are:

Slower rises in permanent and temporary appointments…

Although there were further increases in permanent and temporary staff appointments during December, in both cases the rates of growth eased since November.

…despite vacancies increasing at faster pace

Demand for staff continued to rise in December. The rate of expansion of overall job vacancies quickened to the fastest in 20 months. Data signalled increased vacancies from both private and public sector employers.

Fall in availability of permanent staff

The availability of permanent staff declined in December for the first time since April, albeit modestly. Temporary/contract staff availability was meanwhile unchanged, ending a 56-month sequence of growth.

Moderate increases in wages and salaries

Rates of inflation of permanent salaries and temp wages quickened to 15- and nine-month highs respectively in December, although remained modest overall.

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

“It’s concerning to see the pace of recruitment slowing. Job placements may still be moving in the right direction but questions must now be asked about whether the declining rate of growth is indicative of a longer-term problem. It seems that the time lag many economists spoke about towards the end of last year is shrinking, as employers delay decisions until they have more certainty about the economy. Individuals are also showing signs that they’d rather stick with what they know, as the numbers making themselves available for permanent roles has dropped for the first time since April 2012.

“However, with some areas of the country outperforming others and the private sector seeing more job placements in December the hope must be that employers will handle this latest setback. They certainly reacted positively to news that a fiscal cliff was avoided in the US and, if this is anything to go by, we should see the trend for rising employment continue. It may be slower than in the last few months of 2012, but growth should still be welcomed.”