By Maximilian Clarke
Recruitment consultants signalled a further drop in the number of people placed in permanent jobs in December, with Accounting & Financial Services in particular seeing a drop-off in demand for both temp and perm staff for the second consecutive month, according to the Report on Jobs published earlier this week by the REC and KPMG. Despite the figures, recruiters on the ground remain optimistic with members reporting a positive start to 2012.
"Whilst December was slower than we might have hoped, we are already seeing a number of clients releasing vacancies on their return from the holidays and have more still who are talking positively for this quarter,” Steve Bellemy, MD of Findlay Cameron and member of the REC Accounting & Financial Services executive. “In particular we are seeing demand from employers in manufacturing, engineering and professional services where there remains a lack of quality candidates for accounting roles. The REC is already working closely with the Financial Skills Partnership to improve candidate generation in this area but more must be done as demand continues to grow."
Chris Croucher, MD of AMC Insurance Appointments and a fellow executive member adds: "The insurance sector has held up well throughout December and into the new year, with permanent placements particularly steady despite what these figures say. Much of the drop-off seems to be coming from the City, but even here there is cause for cautious optimism with the recent CBI/PwC Financial Services Survey reporting growth in volumes and income in the final quarter of 2011, with that trend expected to continue through Q1 2012.
"Recruiters should work closely with clients to identify key skills shortages that might be holding back further growth - find the right candidate and a portion of those growing incomes will surely be diverted to the recruitment budget."
The Report of Jobs returned more positive figures in a number of other sectors. Demand for temporary and contract staff in the Healthcare sector increased significantly whilst the Secretarial/Clerical, Engineering/Construction and IT sectors all continued to see steady growth in demand in both the temporary and permanent markets.
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