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Uncertainty is starting to reverberate in companies across the country as recruitment activities slowed during February, a new survey of recruiters found. Although both temporary and permanent placements rose last month, the growth rate was weaker than in previous months.
The latest report on jobs by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that vacancy growth softened in February as demand for temporary and permanent staff rose at the slowest rate in four months.
Temporary workers were most sought after in nursing and medical jobs, followed by accounting and financial positions. For permanent workers, IT and computing remained the top hiring industry.
Bernard Brown from KPMG said the jobs market “made little sense” because employment had been rising at a rapid pace in the past six months despite recent High Street closures. But now organisations are starting to feel the pinch.
“Appointments may still be moving in a positive direction, but with the pace of recruitment dropping to its slowest pace for five months, it won’t be a surprise if hiring decisions are delayed further, putting candidates and employers in an unwanted state of limbo,” he said.
The survey also found that availability of candidates to fill temporary jobs rose for the second month in a row. Permanent staff availability meanwhile decreased slightly for a third consecutive month in February.
More companies were under pay pressure as hourly pay rates for temporary staff rose only marginally in February, following a fractional decline in January. Permanent staff salaries continued to rise in February, but still at moderate levels. Yet starting salaries rose to a 17-month high. “Companies realise they need to make more attractive offers to ensure they can persuade workers to join their workforce and not their rivals,” said Tom Hadley from the REC.