12 February 2013

Job market strengthens in the UK

Statistics provided by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation have provided reason to be cheerful in the UK as employment conditions become increasingly optimistic. Permanent appointments have gone up for the fourth consecutive month in a row, and temporary billing also increased for the sixth month on the trot.

The report, produced in conjunction with KPMG, provides the most comprehensive guide to the UK labour market, drawing on original survey data provided by recruitment consultancies. Along with an increase in permanent and temporary billings it found that:

  • job vacancies rose at their sharpest rate since April 2011
  • permanent salary growth also quickened to a 16-month high

Across the regions, the north saw the fastest growth of permanent placements in January, followed by the Midlands. London and the south posted modest increases.

Private sector increased demand

Private sector demand largely accounted for the positive shift in employment, with demand for permanent employees increasing at a strong rate in January and growth picking up to a ten-month high. Public sector demand fell for both permanent and temporary staff in January as the government continued to implement austerity measures.

Engineering and construction were the most in-demand categories of permanent staff during January, with IT and computing recording similarly strong results. The medical care sector posted positive indicators, but the hospitality industry struggled to benefit from the change in tides.

REC director of policy and professional services Tom Hadley said: “The war for talent has begun. January saw the sharpest rise in starting salaries in well over a year after a nine-month trend of increases.

“The rise is caused by continued growth in permanent vacancies paired with a reduction in candidate availability. This is good news for workers but also highlights the need to address the current ‘skills disconnect’ which presents a major barrier to growth in key sectors of our economy.”