Report on UK Jobs – December 2013


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 December are:

Stronger rises in permanent and temporary appointments

The number of people placed in permanent jobs continued to increase in December, with the rate of expansion accelerating to the sharpest since March 2010. Growth of temp billings also quickened, reaching its fastest pace for over 15 years.

Vacancy growth holds near 15-year high

Demand for staff continued to increase strongly in December. The rate of expansion of job vacancies was little-changed from the 15-year high posted in November.

Permanent salaries rise at fastest pace in over six years…

Average starting salaries for people placed in permanent jobs increased further in December, with the rate of growth the strongest since October 2007. Temporary/contract staff hourly
pay rates rose at a solid pace that was slightly slower than in the previous month.

…amid declining availability of candidates

The availability of staff to fill permanent job roles continued to fall in December. The latest reduction was the steepest since November 2004. Although easing slightly from November’s nine-year record, the rate of decline in temporary/contract staff availability remained substantial.

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

“Combine the latest job figures with news that business confidence has reached a new high and it’s easy to share the renewed sense of optimism amongst employers. Permanent placements alone have hit a 4-year peak and with temporary hires accelerating to a 15-year high there is clearly room for corporate investment and, with it, job creation. Little wonder there is speculation suggesting Mark Carney might revise the unemployment benchmark at which an interest rate rise will be considered.”

“The recovery is clearly gaining momentum, but it will remain delicate until exports show stronger growth. As a result employers and individuals, alike, will be keeping an eye on interest rates and the impact any changes have on the pound in their pocket before deciding if a new job is the way to go. Some uncertainty still remains because the availability of staff to fill roles has seen a steep fall – the biggest for almost 10 years. It’s a particularly strong pattern in the Midlands and across London, and one which should be monitored carefully. The risk is that if it continues employers who are desperate to fill a gap could become stretched beyond their means at the same time as over-inflating the market by offering high salaries just to tempt employees to move.”