Report on UK Jobs – June 2019

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 June are:

Permanent placements continue to fall modestly

Latest data rounded off a disappointing end to the first half of 2019, with the number of people placed into permanent roles falling for the fifth time in six months. Though modest, the decline still marked a stark contrast to the robust hiring activity we saw through 2018, with
a number of panellists blaming the fall on political and economic uncertainty. At the same, time temporary staff billings rose only slightly.

Demand for staff rises at subdued pace

Staff vacancies continued to increase during June, though the rate of expansion held close to April’s multi-year low. Demand for temporary and permanent staff rose at rates that, though strong, remained weaker than seen on average over the survey’s more than two-decade history.

Candidate availability drops amid uncertain outlook

The total supply of candidates continued to decline sharply in June. According to panellists, a generally low unemployment rate and a reluctance to change roles due to heightened uncertainty led to the latest drop in candidate numbers. The deterioration in permanent worker availability continued to outpace that seen for temporary staff.

Pay pressures remain elevated due to skill shortages

Lower candidate availability continued to push up pay for both permanent and temporary workers during June. Permanent starting salaries rose sharply, despite the rate of inflation being among the softest seen for two years, while temp wage inflation quickened to a seven-month high.

Commenting on the latest survey results, James Stewart, Vice Chair at KPMG, said:

“Brexit stagnation continues to seize up the jobs market as the slowdown in recruitment activity continues. Permanent staff appointments fell again in June, the fourth month in a row, while subdued confidence ensured that growth in temporary billings remained historically weak.”

“As we approach the summer holidays, the worry is that vacancy growth – which held close to a multi- year low in June – is unlikely to bounce back as firms take a relatively cautious approach to hiring. Uncertainty is also likely to further dampen staff availability, as candidates are reluctant to change roles at this time. On a sector basis, IT & Computing continued to need more workers while construction and retail saw reduced demand.”

“Looking ahead, conditions across the labour market are likely to remain restrained against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty before companies can start to make more informed decisions on their long-term hiring.”