By Daniel Hunter
Permanent staff placements increased in three of the four monitored English regions during February, led by the Midlands.
Solid growth was also registered in both the South and the North. London bucked the trend, recording a slight decline.
These were the findings of the first-ever regional REC/KPMG Report on Jobs series published today comprising four regional reports tracking labour market trends across the Midlands, the North of England, the South of England and London.
The reports are designed to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date guide to labour market trends and the data are directly comparable with the UK Report on Jobs.
Key points of the Reports are:
- Permanent placements rise across all English regions except London
- This is in contrast to broad-based decline in temp billings
- Midlands and South see rise in salaries for permanent staff
Permanent staff placements increased in three of the four monitored English regions during February, led by the Midlands. Solid growth was also registered in both the South and the North. London bucked the trend, recording a slight decline.
Temporary/contract staff billings fell across England, with the sharpest reduction seen in London. Rates of decline in the Midlands, North and South were marginal. A number of survey respondents across the regions commented that the effect of Agency Worker Regulations had weighed on short-term staff appointments during the latest survey period.
Recruitment consultants indicated a higher level of job vacancies in all regions except the capital during February. Growth was led by the North and the South, while the Midlands posted a marginal improvement. London registered a further decrease in vacancies.
Differing pay trends were signalled in February. The South and the Midlands both recorded moderate increases in permanent staff salaries, but the North and London posted declines.
Hourly rates of pay for temporary/contract staff rose across England, with by far the strongest increase seen in the Midlands. Elsewhere, increases in temp pay were modest and below long-run trends.
All four monitored regions saw improved levels of candidate availability during February. For both permanent and temporary staff, growth was strongest in the North.
“There are positive signs for the jobs market across most regions, with a significant upturn in permanent placements," Tom Hadley, the REC's Director of Policy and Professional Services said.
"Private sector employers are becoming more confident which should result in hiring activity accelerating further in the second part of the year. The temporary market is essentially flat but continues to provide an important outlet for employers and job-seekers.
“The one area where an increase in permanent placements was not apparent was London. This may in part be due in part to the fact that a high percentage of businesses in the capital operate in sectors that have been hard hit such as financial services and hotel & catering. We will continue to track regional variations over the coming months and have welcomed recent messages from Government about employment initiatives needing to be more reflective of local labour market needs and trends.
“Across all regions, we are seeing a high-demand for skilled workers in sectors such as IT, engineering and healthcare. One key challenge for recruiters is finding workers with the skills and competencies that employers are looking for. Addressing this ‘skills mismatch’ must be a priority and is something that Local Enterprise Partnerships can help to drive in co-operation with local employers and recruiters.”
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