Positive news for permanent employee

That was the main talking point coming out of the latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs, which was published in the first week on January. The report is considered the most comprehensive guide to the UK labour market, drawing on original survey data provided by recruitment consultancies.

It showed that the number of people getting placed in permanent jobs continued to increase in December with the rate of expansion accelerating to its sharpest since March 2010. At the same time, the average starting salaries of those gaining permanent staff positions increased at the strongest rate of growth for over seven years.

"The UK labour market is starting the New Year in robust form," said Kate Shoesmith, the REC's head of policy. "Our latest figures show sharp growth in the number of people finding new permanent jobs and the most rapid rise in starting salaries since October 2007. Increasing demand for temp workers has driven up hourly pay rates for agency workers for the 11th month on the trot - growing confidence means more and more employers are willing to invest in their workforce and take on more people."

However, amid the positive news was a warning. The report disclosed that the availability of staff to fill permanent job roles continued to fall in December, with the latest reduction being the steepest since November 2004; the rate of decline in temporary and contract staff availability was also described as 'substantial'. In short, employers are struggling to find the right calibre of candidates.

"The real concern now is the mismatch between demand and supply with recruiters reporting that they can't source suitable candidates for vacancies in a whole range of sectors. Companies want to hire more salespeople, accountants and business development staff to help their enterprises grow, but can't find people with the right skills to take the jobs," commented Shoesmith.

In terms of regional growth, the Midlands registered the steepest increase in permanent placements during December, followed by the North. The Midlands also achieved the fastest growth of temp billings in the month with the North again just behind. Demand for staff in the private sector was stronger than that in the public sector.

Nine permanent staff categories were covered by the survey and all had increased demand. The strongest rate of expansion, however, was signalled for Executive/Professional workers while Nursing/Medical/Care, IT & Computing and Accounting/Financial were also strong.

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