Permanent placements have risen at their fastest rate for five months, according to the latest Markit/Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) ‘Report on Jobs’.
The August data, released today, also reveals temp billings increased at a rate that, although still sharp, was the softest recorded since October 2016.
Vacancies continued to increase – albeit at a slightly slower rate than July’s eight-month record, with steep increases in demand witnessed across both permanent and temporary job categories.
The availability of both permanent and temporary candidates declined further in August, with permanent labour supply contracting at a similarly sharp pace to that seen in July, and temporary worker availability declining at a slightly softer pace.
Sharp rises in permanent staff appointments were registered across all four monitored regions of England in August, led by London. The Midlands posted the quickest rise in temp billings, while the weakest upturn was seen in the South of England.
In terms of job categories, IT & computing once again led the rankings for permanent job vacancies in August. However, marked increases in demand were also seen across all other sectors with the exception of retail, where vacancies stagnated.
Demand for temporary/contract staff rose across nine out of the 10 job categories during August, led by blue collar and hotel & catering. Retail was the one sector to register lower temp staff demand.
But in commenting on the data, REC CEO Neil Carberry questioned how long the UK labour market could continue to defy gravity if the shape of future trading arrangements with the EU remain unclear.
“Companies are starting to implement contingency plans now – and those who aren’t will need to step up progress.
“The biggest long-term question on jobs is how they will be affected by new technology and stiff price competition driven by value-conscious consumers. For recruiters, helping people find pathways from sectors like retail into growing sectors will both boost opportunity and address candidate shortages in key sectors.”