The latest Report on Jobs from the REC and KPMG reveals that the jobs paradox remains operative, with permanent appointments rising for the fourth successive month and temporary billings rising for the sixth, despite flatlining economic growth.

Permanent appointments maintained the steady rate of growth seen in December, while the rate of growth of temporary appointments actually quickened during January. Hourly rates for the latter, however, dropped slightly on average – the first decrease in five months.

The North, the Midlands, London and the South all saw a growth in temporary billings in January, with the North coming top of the tree, as it did with permanent appointments.

While private sector demand for permies hit a ten-month high in January, it fell slightly for temporary staff for the first time in 12 months. Demand for both types of role fell in the public sector.

Demand for core contractor disciplines held up well amongst the temporary billings, with engineering/construction and accounting/financial workers enjoying strong improvements in demand.

Commenting on the survey, REC director of policy, Tom Hadley, said that the war for talent has started. He added: “Skills shortages in whole sectors like engineering and IT and for particular roles like chefs, drivers and sales is spurring competition for qualified staff. Employers are realising that to secure the talent they need they [have] to offer more attractive salaries.”

His comments were echoed by KPMG partner and head of business services, Bernard Brown, who said: “Given the skills gaps that continue to plague many sectors, increased availability of qualified and experienced staff could help fill the capability gap many employers have wanted to plug for some time.”

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