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UK – Job data shows healthy hiring figures

08 February 2013

In January, temporary agency workers continued to be in high demand with temp billings rising for the sixth month in a row, according to a survey of recruiters. Permanent job placement also increased last month as ‘the war of talent’ has begun.

The latest job report by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) shows that recruitment agencies were able to place higher levels of temporary staff, particularly across the North of England. Meanwhile, increased demand for permanent staff helped drive salaries.

“January saw the sharpest rise in starting salaries in well over a year after a nine-month trend of increases. The rise is caused by continued growth in permanent vacancies paired with a reduction in candidate availability,” said Tom Hadley of the REC.

“Skills shortages in whole sectors like engineering and IT and for particular roles like chefs, drivers and sales are spurring competition for qualified staff. Employers are realising that to secure the talent they need they have to offer more attractive salaries.”

But private sector demand for temporary workers dipped slightly for the first time in a year while demand for permanent staff reached a ten-month high. The picture was a different in the public sector where demand fell for both permanent and temporary workers.

The nursing and medical sector posted the highest demand for temporary workers, followed by engineering/construction, and accounting/financial.  The only category to signal a small fall included executive and professional jobs.

Bernard Brown from KPMG said: “Amid the doom and gloom caused by predictions of slow growth, the hiring figures for January should give employers and employees plenty of reasons to be cheerful.

“Demand for staff is at its highest peak for almost two years meaning that employees who may have been too nervous to change jobs in recent months, might consider the benefits of a fresh challenge.  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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