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The latest report by IHS Markit signalled slow movement in temporary billings as well as a slight decline in the number of permanent placements at the start of 2019. The number of people available to take up new roles continued to decline sharply in January, being linked to the UK’s high employment rates as well as well as hesitancy among potential candidates to move roles as Brexit looms. Neil Cranberry, REC Chief Executive says, “This is the first month since July 2016 where permanent placement numbers have dropped, with weaker – but still positive – performance for temporary roles, and the lowest rate of vacancy growth for over two years. But we should be careful not to overreact – employment rates are high, and the performance of our labour market overall is still strong.”

Candidate Placements

Permanent Placements

The latest findings signalled a slight decline in the number of permanent placements at the start of 2019. Despite the latest findings South of England saw growth in the number of people placed in permanent placements. 

Temporary Placements

Temporary billings increased at slower rate this month. Increases were noted in the Midlands and the South of England. 

Candidate Availability

Staff availability overall has continued to decline across the UK, with the rate of deterioration accelerating to a 20-month record. It was commonly cited that both permanent and temporary availability  was low due to uncertainty over Brexit. 

Pay Pressures

Permanent Salaries
Permanent salaries continued to rise sharply across all English regions.  

Temporary/Contract Pay Rates

January survey data signalled a further steep increase in wages for temporary workers. This was despite the rate of inflation slipping further from November's 11-year high. Recruiters indicated that candidate shortages had driven up pay rates at the start of the year. 

Demand for Staff

Permanent Roles

The steepest increase in permanent staff demand was seen for Accounting/Financial, followed by Engineering and IT & Computing. The only sector to register lower permanent job vacancies was Retail.

Temporary Roles

Hotel & Catering topped the league table for demand for temporary staff in January, closely followed by Nursing/Medical/ Care. Vacancies also rose across all other job sectors, with the weakest expansion seen in Retail.