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UK — Permanent placements and temporary billings up in December

06 January 2010

The latest report on jobs published by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), based on data provided by recruitment companies reveals faster increases in both permanent and temporary/contract employment during December 2009.

December data pointed to a fifth consecutive month of higher staff appointments. Growth of permanent placements accelerated to the sharpest since July 2007, while temporary/contract staff billings rose at the fastest pace for two-and-a-half years.

Recruitment consultants reported a further rise in vacancy levels in December. Demand for permanent and temporary/contract staff increased at the strongest rates for twenty-nine and twenty-two months respectively.

Average salaries for people placed in permanent jobs increased for the second month running in December. The rate of growth was solid and the fastest since June 2008. Hourly rates of pay for temporary/contract employees fell for a fifteenth successive month, but the latest drop was only marginal and the smallest in that period.

The availability of candidates to fill job vacancies continued to increase in December. However, the latest improvements in both permanent and temporary/contract staff availability were the least marked for one-and-a-half years.

Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, says "as we head into 2010, the recovery of the UK jobs market is accelerating. Employer confidence is increasing and vacancies are on the up, with the fastest growth in permanent jobs since July 2007. Temporary and contract placements also rose at the sharpest pace for thirty months which underlines the crucial role that flexible working models will play in helping job-seekers back into work."

"Despite the increase in demand for both temporary and permanent staff, the jobs market will remain extremely competitive, particularly for younger candidates. It is essential that the Government’s pledge to invest over 1 billion Pounds to create 400,000 new youth job and training opportunities is met and that the private sector plays its part in getting younger candidates into work."

"To avoid a lost generation of workers, the REC has created a coalition of employers, professional recruiters and welfare providers to provide practical solutions for youth unemployment. It is also crucial that the Government ensures that new EU regulations on agency work do not curtail employers’ opportunities to create jobs."

Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG comments "The jobs market has continued its journey back to health and the data are certainly encouraging. We now need to see this improvement carried over into 2010 for the jobs recovery to be consolidated. However, the prospect of possibly extensive public sector job cuts in the second half of 2010 casts a long shadow over everything."

"The jobs market has been cushioned in recent years by continued public sector expansion. If this is put into reverse post-election, it could have a significant effect on employment figures."



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