As KPMG and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation release their latest comprehensive guide to current UK labour market trends, consisting of original survey data provided by recruitment consultancies and employers, we summarise the topline takeaways from the report.
April saw the steepest decline in permanent placements since January 2021 across all regions, following recruitment freezes and delayed hiring decisions driven by weaker economic conditions and rising costs. Some of the recruitment professionals surveyed also mentioned that a lack of suitably skilled candidate availability also impacted their ability to fill permanent positions.
Conversely, April also saw the quickest expansion in temp billing in all areas bar the West Midlands for seven months, stretching the current pattern of growth to 33 months. This upturn was linked by those surveyed to a preference for hiring on a short-term basis due to economic uncertainties.
“This data shows how uncertain many employers are feeling right now. The good news is they still need to hire, as growing vacancies show. But firms are hedging their bets. After a better month in March, in April we saw permanent hiring fall back quickly and businesses turn to temps to help them through. London had a particularly difficult month’’
Neil Carberry, REC Chief Executive
Following the further rise seen in March, vacancy growth edged towards a three month low in April. This softer upturn in demand was driven by a slower increase in permanent vacancies, as the number of temp roles increase at a sharper pace. The only monitored category to see a fall in demand across both permanent and short-term staff was Retail.
April saw the supply of workers improve for the second month running in all regions, at a slightly improved rate month on month. The data revealed a slightly faster rise in permanent candidate availability versus a softer upturn in short-term staff availability, with those surveyed suggesting the overall increase was due, in part, to redundancies and those looking for better pay amongst the cost of living crisis.
Starting salaries for permanent workers continued to rise at a historically sharp pace in April, while temporary wage growth improved to the highest rate since January. This continued increase has been attributed by those surveyed to ongoing efforts to attract and secure suitably skilled staff and to reflect the rising cost of living.
“For businesses looking to hire there are some green shoots in candidate availability, as supply improved for the second month in a row. Starting rates of pay for both permanent and temporary positions are still rising at historically sharp rates, giving people an incentive to move roles’’
Claire Warnes, Partner, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK
Temp billings growth quickens, but permanent staff appointments fall again
Supply of workers improves for second month running
Stronger increases in starting pay
Vacancy growth slips to three-month low
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