Report on UK Jobs – January 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 January are:

Solid expansion of staff appointments…

Recruitment consultants indicated a rise in permanent staff placements for the fourth month running during January. Growth held steady from December’s solid rate. Temp billings meanwhile increased for the sixth month in succession, with the pace of expansion quickening slightly in the latest survey period.

Further growth of job vacancies…

Demand for staff continued to increase at the start of 2013. The rate of growth in permanent vacancies quickened to a 21-month high, but temp vacancies rose at a slightly slower pace than in December.

Permanent salary growth quickens…

Average starting salaries for people placed in permanent jobs continued to increase in January. Although still moderate, the rate of inflation was at a 16-month high. Contributing to the rise in salaries was a deterioration in the availability of permanent staff, albeit only slight.

…but temp pay falls fractionally

Hourly rates of pay for staff in temporary/contract employment decreased for the first time in five months during January. That said, the fall was only fractional. Short-term staff availability meanwhile rose moderately.

Commenting on the latest survey results, Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, said: “Amid the doom and gloom caused by predictions of slow growth, the hiring figures for January should give employers and employees plenty of reasons to be cheerful. Demand for staff is at its highest peak for almost two years meaning that employees who may have been too nervous to change jobs in recent months, might consider the benefits of a fresh challenge. Given the skills gaps that continue to plague many sectors, increased availability of qualified and experienced staff could help fill the capability gap many employers have wanted to plug for some time. Staff may also have more room for manoeuvre, as the data indicates starting salaries rose again in January, seeing their sharpest climb since September. We are by no means at a stage where the candidate is King, but perhaps they are moving closer to the throne. It’s also clear that private sector permanent positions are coming to the fore, with growth at a 10-month high. The hope must be that this is a trend that continues. If it does, predictions of further doom and gloom may yet prove to be extreme.”