Despite being the traditional month for vacationing, demand for permanent and temporary/contracting staff in August grew at its fastest pace since April 1998, the latest REC/KPMG Report on Jobs reveals.

Placements for Umbrella Company employees and other temporary/contracting staff rose vigorously, while the total number of jobs and contracts available increased at the fastest rate in 16 years. Demand rose in both private and public sectors, although, predictably, more markedly in the former.

Pay rates for contractors climbed robustly, exceeding the pace recorded in July, while permanent salaries also rose at an accelerating rate.

Demand for permanent and temporary/contracting staff rose across all of the nine sectors monitored in the survey, with Engineering vacancies topping the permanent league table and coming in second in the temporary/contracting market. Hotel & Catering roles saw the slowest growth rate in the permanent jobs market, while Executive/Professionals vacancies grew most slowly in the temporary/contracting market.

Placement rose in all four of the regions sample in the survey, with the Midlands leading a broad-based surge in temporary/contracting billings.

The REC’s Chief Executive, Kevin Green, said people looking for work had “great news” in August, with more people finding work in all regions and all sectors, including IT, construction and engineering.

“The jobs market is often criticised for being London-centric but our data shows that rates of growth for both permanent starting salaries and temp pay rates are faster in the South, Midlands and North this month. Recruiters tell us that the driver behind this increase is the competition to attract and retain the skilled people outside London,” he said.

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