After falling to a ten-month low in July, temporary/contracting billings rallied in August at their fastest pace since May, while permanent appointments climbed for the first time in three months.
These are the headline findings of the latest Report on Jobs, the monthly survey of UK recruitment consultants from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and Markit.
Permanent placements dropped dramatically around the time of the Brexit vote, remaining depressed throughout June and July. But anecdotal evidence from REC recruiters suggests that a number of employers have now opted to proceed with hires that they had previously put on ice.
Strengthening employer activity also undergirded the rise in temp/contracting appointments in August.
Skills shortages and an increase in senior-level placements accounted for a solid rise in starting-salaries for permanent candidates, which climbed at a faster rate than that recorded in July. However, REC panellists reported that the availability of both permanent applicants and Umbrella Company Employees and other temp/contracting candidates fell more sharply in August.
The rise in the number of short-term and permanent vacancies was regionally broad-based, although the private sector accounted for the strongest growth in temporary/contracting vacancies. The only staff category to post a decline in August was Public Sector Employees.
The most sought-after category for permanent staff in August was Nursing/Medical/Care, which narrowly beat Engineering to the top of the demand league table. The only category of permanent staffing to see a decline was Construction.
All monitored categories of temporary/contracting staff climbed in August, with demand for Hotel & Catering workers topping the league table, closely followed by Engineering.
Commenting on the findings, REC Chief Executive Kevin Green said that after the initial shock of the EU referendum result, the immediate uncertainty appears to have subsided, allowing the UK jobs market to return to pre-Referendum patterns. Permanent appointments climbed, he observed, after having been delayed or put on hold in July. Employers also began offering more in a bid to attract candidates who might otherwise be reluctant to change jobs in the current climate.
He went on: “Despite this month’s positive data, it is still too early to make conclusions about what impact the vote to leave the EU will have on the jobs market. For example, the fact that vacancy growth has softened is concerning, suggesting that hiring could be volatile over the coming months.
“The priority now is to shore up business confidence. Much of this depends on progress the Government can make in its difficult task of ensuring that UK businesses have the ability to trade with their neighbours in the EU.”