Contracting Umbrella Company Employees and other temporary workers enjoyed a bumper month in November, with placements growing at a pace not seen for seven months and pay rates rising at the fastest pace since August.

This is one of the headline findings in the latest Report on Jobs from Markit and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

Growth in permanent placements accelerated in November, quickening to its briskest pace since February. Temporary/contracting workers also saw placements rising to a seven-month high.

Demand for both temp/contract and permanent staff remained robust in November, with vacancies for both categories growing steeply.

However, candidate availability continued its downward trend, dwindling further in November. Recruiters reported the sharpest fall in permanent staff availability in eight months, with temporary/contracting staff availability also declining more rapidly.

Starting salaries for permanent staff rose to a six-month peak in November, while pay rates for temp/contract staff climbed at their swiftest rate since August.

Regionally, permanent placements grew most vigorously in the North, although the Midlands also witnessed robust growth. Scotland emerged as the only region where these billings declined and was the only region not to see an increase in temporary/contracting placements. Temp/contract roles grew most vigorously in London and the North.

Demand for both temp/contract and permanent staff continued to increase in the private sector during November, although at a marginally slower rate than the previous month. However, for the first time since July, vacancies for both temporary and permanent roles increased by a modest but measurable amount in the public sector.

Demand for temporary/contracting staff was strongest in the Blue Collar category, although demand for temp/contract staff in Nursing/Medical/Care also grew robustly. Construction was the only category that saw a fall in demand.

REC CEO Kevin Green said that the jobs market in 2016 has ended positively, with openings and placements reaching levels that had not been seen since February. According to recruiter data, UK businesses are clearly continuing to expand their workforces.

However, for the second month in a row, he highlighted the worsening skills shortage, as evidenced by record-high employment levels coinciding with many jobs in key areas remaining unfilled. He said: “In the longer term, improving hiring and training of young people via apprenticeships will help to ensure that employers develop a pipeline of people with the required skills. But there is an immediate need which must be met now so that businesses can thrive.

“Talent shortages will be exacerbated if the Government imposes restrictions on people coming to the UK from abroad. This might result in businesses considering options such as offshoring or relocation abroad; this is a risk we cannot afford.”

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