The IHS Markit/REC Report on Jobs – published today – provides the most comprehensive guide to the UK labour market, drawing on original survey data provided by recruitment consultancies.
Growth in permanent placements outstrips that for temp billings
Demand for staff rises at softest pace for 15 months
Supply of candidates drops at weakest rate for a year
Overall candidate availability continued to decline sharply during March, though the latest reduction was the weakest seen for one year. A softer drop in permanent candidate supply contrasted with a slightly quicker deterioration in short-term staff availability.
Pay pressures remain marked
Average starting salaries continued to increase sharply in March, despite the rate of inflation softening to a ten-month low. Pay for temporary/contract staff rose at the quickest pace since last September.
The upturn in permanent staff placements was once again led by the Midlands, though rates of growth were marked in all of the other four UK regions monitored by the survey.
On a regional basis, Scotland recorded the sharpest rise in temp billings at the end of the first quarter. Growth was also sharp across the Midlands and the South of England, while modest upturns were registered in London and the North of England.
Staff vacancies continued to rise at sharper rates across the private sector compared to the public sector during March.
In the private sector, marked rates of vacancy growth were signalled for both permanent and temporary workers. Vacancies for both permanent and short-term staff across the public sector rose at steeper rates compared to those seen in February.
Engineering led the rankings for demand for permanent staff during March, closely followed by IT & Computing. Nonetheless, permanent job vacancies also rose markedly across the remaining seven job categories.
All job categories monitored by the survey signalled stronger demand for temporary/contract staff in March. Hotel & Catering saw the most pronounced increase in demand for short-term staff, followed by Blue Collar.
REC director of policy Tom Hadley says: