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The latest report from IHS Markit shows a similar picture to previous months, where availability of staff continues to drop and vacancies continue to increase.  Permanent placements remain unchanged this month whilst temporary billings expand at a quicker pace. Availability of staff continues to worsen as we experience the lowest unemployment levels since 1975. The jobs market continues to be impacted by the Brexit effect.Kate Holt, Consulting Partner at KPMG” says, “as the candidate shortage increases, so does competition, so jobseekers are in a good position to negotiate for the best offer. Looking ahead, once we have clarity on Brexit, companies should be in a better position to invest, which will result in a busy period for the jobs market later this year.”

Candidate Placements

Permanent Placements

After falling fractionally at the start of 2019, the number of people placed into permanent positions was unchanged in February. Some recruitment consultancies indicated that demand for staff among clients remained strong which helped to lift placements. However, other panellists indicated that candidate shortages and Brexit-related uncertainty had put a brake on staff hiring in February.

Temporary Placements

After rising only slightly in January, temp billings growth quickened in February. Though solid, the expansion remained notably softer than the average seen over the current 70-month sequence of increases.

Candidate Availability

The latest set of labour market data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the number of job vacancies hit a fresh record high in the three months to January. At 870,000, the number of vacancies was up 5.6% from the same period a year ago, to reach the highest level since the series began in early-2001.

Pay Pressures

Permanent Salaries
Starting salaries awarded to permanent workers continued to increase across the UK during February. Reports from panellists widely mentioned that higher pay offers were required in order to attract and secure candidates. The rate of salary inflation was sharp overall, despite edging down to a seven-month low.
Temporary/Contract Pay Rates

Temporary wages rose further across the UK midway through the first quarter of 2019. Though sharp, the rate of pay growth eased for the third month running to the slowest since January 2018. A number of panellists linked the rise to a general increase in market rates.

Demand for Staff

Permanent Roles

The steepest increase in demand was signalled for permanent IT/Computing workers, while the weakest was registered for Construction staff.

Temporary Roles

Nursing/Medical/Care topped the rankings for temporary staff demand midway through the first quarter. Vacancies also grew across the other categories monitored by the survey, with the exception of Retail.