The latest IHS Markit/REC Report on Jobs shows that placements of flexible workers climbed at stronger rates in November than in October, as did billings for new permanent staff.

Demand for both temporary and permanent staff climbed steeply in November, although the rate of growth for permanent staff fell slightly on the previous month.

Meanwhile, day rates for contracting staff continued to rise markedly, while starting salaries for permanent staff also climbed sharply, strengthened by a combination of robust demand and skill shortages, although the rate of salary increase was a little lower than that recorded in October.

Recruiters reported another precipitous fall in the availability of permanent candidates in November, although the rate of decline slowed to the weakest pace in seven months. The availability of contracting/temp candidates fell at a sharper rate than in October.

Regionally, the growth in placements for flexibility staff was broad-based and registered in all the regions monitored, with the North of England securing first place. For permanent placements, the most vigorous increase was recorded in the Midlands, followed by Scotland coming in second place.

Demand for both categories of worker remained substantially stronger in the private sector compared to the public sector in November. Private sector demand for both categories continued to grow at a vigorous pace, albeit slightly softer than that recorded in October.

Demand growth for permanent staff in the public sector weakened, while vacancies for temp/contracting staff rose but at the weakest rate in four months.

Once again at the top of the demand league table for flexible staff was in Nursing/Medical/Care. However, all sectors monitored in the survey recorded demand increases for this category of flexible worker.

Noting that recruiters continued to place more people in jobs despite ongoing Brexit uncertainties and political turmoil, REC CEO Kevin Green said:

“Recruiters also continue to report deteriorating candidate availability and worsening skills shortages. Having less access to candidates can have severe effects, restricting businesses’ ability to grow which means they won’t be able to create jobs or increase pay for staff. Although some hirers are responding by raising starting salaries in an attempt to attract scarce talent, there’s no evidence yet this is leading to pay increases for the wider workforce and those who fail to hire will find themselves in dire straits.”

He called on Government to extend freedom of movement to 2021 to ease skill shortages, and to help fill gaps vacated by departing EU workers by broadening the Apprenticeship Levy. This would enable recruiters to train flexible workers and temporary contractors so that they can advance in the jobs market.

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