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The latest Report on Jobs by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG showed an increase in both permanent and temp billings last month. Following a drop in April, temp billings rose again in May while the number of people placed in permanent jobs continued to increase.
Demand for staff rose further last month and remained solid. Overall, private sector vacancies continued to show a stronger trend than public sector roles.
REC chief executive Kevin Green said the job market is picking up pace. “Permanent employment is at a six month high while the use of temps is also growing after last month’s blip,” he said. “Recruiters tell us that employers are more optimistic and are planning to increase their temporary and permanent hiring.”
Temporary and contract staff billings increased across England and during May the strongest expansion was signalled in the North, while the slowest rise was indicated by Midlands-based recruiters.
The report noted increased demand for temporary workers last month, particularly in the Nursing/Medical/Care sector, followed by Engineering. Construction was the only sector where a reduction in demand was recorded.
Temporary workers also benefitted from higher wages as hourly pay rates rose, with the rate of growth quickening slightly since April. Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, said the labour market is on an upward trajectory despite employers remaining cautious. “We are likely to see demand for skilled staff remain high. It’s a real catch-22 situation, but one for which a solution will be at hand if the economy continues to show signs of improvement,” said Mr Brown.