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UK – Temporary jobs on the rise, finds REC & KPMG

08 October 2012

In September, temporary jobs rose for the second month in a row and at the fastest pace in 14 months, the latest survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG shows today.

“This month’s figures show that the temporary labour market has bouncebackability,” said REC chief executive Kevin Green.

“The resilience of the UK labour market in the face of what official figures class as a double dip recession continues to be remarkable. This increase in the use of temps for the second month in a row could be a sign of optimism among employers, and that they are gearing up for future growth.

“It certainly puts pay to any idea that changes to Agency Worker Regulations last year dissuaded British businesses from using temps as a vital component of their workforce. Temporary staff are an efficient, flexible way for businesses to increase their workforce and grow their businesses out of recession.”

The survey found that temporary billings rose particularly in the Midlands, the South and the North although London recorded a decline.

In the month, temporary staff were most in demand in the nursing/medical/care sector, followed by engineering and construction. Lower vacancies were reported in three sectors, including accounting/financial, executive/professional and hotel & catering.

Permanent placements dropped for the fourth month running but only saw a “fractural” decline in September while overall demand for staff continued to grow in the month. Private sector vacancies increased, but public sector jobs declined further, this effecting in particular permanent staff.  

“It must be hugely encouraging for job seekers to see figures suggesting that demand for staff is on the increase … However, the jobs market cannot be viewed in isolation as any sustainable improvement in employment remains dependent on the growth of the economy as a whole,” said Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG.

“Whilst some parts of the country may be showing signs of recovery, others are lagging behind and until an upward trajectory is seen across the whole of the UK, the jobs market will remain fragile with warnings to ‘handle with care’.

“If we are to see sustained growth in employment demand, we need to get growth back into the economy itself.  That is why the picture remains fragile, and a jobs recovery is by no means assured.”

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