Report on Jobs: Hiring activity accelerates, but candidate availability drops at record levels

Carl Wright
by Carl Wright

Hiring activity accelerates, but candidate availability drops

The latest KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs survey signalled a further rapid increase in hiring activity during August, as improved confidence around the outlook led businesses to ramp up their recruitment plans.

In a continuing indicator of growing business confidence and market recover, the report showed permanent job levels expanded at record levels.

However, an unprecedented drop in candidate availability and greater competition for workers led to a record increase in starting salaries for permanent staff and a steeper increase in pay for short-term roles.

The report compiled by IHS Markit from responses to questionnaires sent to a panel of around 400 UK recruitment consultancies, including Technical Moves.

Key findings and summary:

Sharpest increase in permanent placements on record

Increased economic activity amid looser COVID-19 restrictions and robust demand for staff led to a further sharp increase in hiring activity during August.

Growth of demand for staff holds close to all-time high

Underscoring the improved employment outlook was a further rapid increase in overall vacancies during August.

Availability of workers falls at unprecedented rate...

Underlying data showed that unprecedented falls in permanent candidate numbers and temp staff supply had driven the latest deterioration in overall availability. The declines were widely associated with a reluctance among employees to switch roles due to the pandemic, fewer EU workers, furloughed staff and skill shortages.

...leading to sharper increases in starting pay

Increased competition for staff amid shrinking labour supply placed further upward pressure on starting pay. Notably, salaries for newly-placed permanent staff increased at the fastest rate seen in nearly 24 years of data collection.

Regional and Sector Variations

The private sector continued to record much stronger increases in vacancies than the public sector midway through the third quarter. All ten categories of permanent staff saw improvements in demand during August. The slowest increase was seen for Construction.

Full details and reaction can be found on the REC website here:

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