Report on UK Jobs – March 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.

Key points from March survey:

  • Permanent placements and temp billings increase, but at weaker rates
  • Slowest growth of job vacancies for seven months
  • IT & Computing remains most in-demand type of permanent staff
  • Nursing/Medical/Care most sought-after temp category
  • Availability of permanent staff down slightly; temp availability rises
  • Muted pay inflation

Weaker growth of placements and billings…

Although further increases in both permanent staff placements and temporary/contract staff billings were recorded in March, the latest expansions were only slight and the slowest in six and seven months respectively.

…as vacancies rise at slower pace

Growth of job vacancies moderated further in March, reaching a seven-month low. Demand for both permanent and temporary/contract staff rose at weaker rates.

Slight fall in permanent staff availability

The availability of candidates to fill permanent job roles decreased for a fourth successive month in March. That said, the rate of deterioration remained only modest. The availability of temporary/contract staff meanwhile increased slightly, maintaining the trend seen since the turn of the year.

Pay inflation remains subdued

Permanent staff salaries and temporary/contract staff pay both increased at moderate rates in March. In the case of the latter, inflation was at a 12-month high.

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

“The jobs market is finally catching up with the prevailing GDP picture as confidence amongst employers and candidates drops to a half-year low. Yet no matter how unwelcome it is, with the ink barely dry on news about falling construction and manufacturing output, the latest data should come as no surprise. Even amongst temporary placements, the rate of growth is at its weakest point for 7 months. It’s a sign that employers who were previously comfortable making short-term financial commitments are now nervous about undertaking any form of people investment. For those staff who are in place the problem remains one of being over-stretched and the longer this goes on, the less productive they will become. Employers clearly recognise that they need to ask some searching questions to solve this issue, but are unlikely to act on what they discover in the near future. Perhaps, once the measures announced in last month’s Budget start to take effect, we may see a positive impact on business confidence, but there is a long way to go and forecasts for a flat GDP for the rest of the year do not bode well.”