The number of people placed in permanent jobs increased for a seventh successive month in April, with the rate of growth accelerating since March, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG Report on Jobs.
However, the report found that temporary jobs declined for the first time in nine months. Salaries rose by the smallest amount in April since last November.
The Midlands saw the strongest rate of permanent placements growth, followed by the South. London meanwhile saw a modest rise. The North registered stagnation. Temporary/contract staff billings rose in the Midlands and the North during April. In contrast, London and the South saw declines.
The report says there was a fall in public sector demand for staff, with reduced vacancies indicated for both permanent and temporary/contract workers. In contrast, private sector employees saw growth of demand, with the faster expansion reported for permanent staff.
The strongest growth of demand for permanent staff was signalled within the engineering sector during April. IT & computing workers also registered a marked rise in demand for their services. In contrast, there was a slight fall in demand for hotel & catering staff.
The report found that the fastest increase for temporary posts was in the nursing/medical/care sector, followed by engineering. Demand fell in the construction and hotel & catering sectors.
Commenting on the report, REC chief executive Kevin Green says: “Demand in the economy is returning, slowly but surely. Businesses are feeling more confident, hence steady levels of people being placed into permanent jobs and rising in starting salaries across the north of England. It really is one in the eye for the naysayers who talk down our labour market and dismiss improving employment figures as being ‘the wrong kind of jobs’.
“Recruiters are reporting a renewed sense of purpose from their clients, with employers making hiring decisions more quickly than before. Highly skilled jobs like engineering and IT are still big growth areas, and the reports of shortages of people to fill sales vacancies show that companies are gearing up for increases in business investment and consumer spending.
“All the feedback from recruiters is that employers intend to continue to increase their use of flexible staffing in the months ahead.”
Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, adds: “Negative news on the jobs front has been so commonplace in recent months that it has almost become a cliché. The latest figures, however, hint at a positive turn with permanent placements accelerating, the rate of demand for permanent staff remaining solid and average starting salaries continuing to rise.
“Yet these positive signs should not be taken as a signal that we are reaching the proverbial pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. The data suggests that optimism is lower when temporary roles are considered and there are also still too many inconsistencies across the UK to hint at recovery. The reality is that there are likely to be storm clouds ahead before the employment rainbow will really be allowed to shine.”