By Daniel Hunter
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs has revealed that the number of people placed in permanent jobs increased for a seventh successive month in April, with the rate of growth accelerating since March. However, temp billings declined for the first time in nine months.
Demand for staff continued to rise at a solid pace in April. Permanent staff vacancy growth inched up since March, but temp vacancies increased at the weakest pace in nine months.
April data pointed to an easing in the rate of inflation of permanent staff salaries, with the latest rise the slowest since last November. Temp pay growth also eased on the month.
Permanent staff availability was broadly unchanged in April, ending a four-month period of decline. Temp availability rose, but only modestly and at the slowest rate in 2013 so far.
The Midlands saw the strongest rate of permanent placements growth, followed by the South. London meanwhile posted a modest rise. The North registered stagnation.
Temporary/contract staff billings rose in the Midlands and the North during April. In contrast, London and the South posted declines.
Public sector demand for staff declined, with reduced vacancies indicated for both permanent and temporary/contract workers. In contrast, private sector employees saw growth of demand, with the faster expansion reported for permanent staff.
The strongest growth of demand for permanent staff was signalled within the Engineering sector during April. IT & Computing workers also registered a marked rise in demand for their services. In contrast, there was a slight fall in demand for Hotel & Catering staff.
“Demand in the economy is returning, slowly but surely. Businesses are feeling more confident, hence steady levels of people being placed into permanent jobs and rising in starting salaries across the north of England," REC chief executive Kevin Green said.
"It really is one in the eye for the naysayers who talk down our labour market and dismiss improving employment figures as being 'the wrong kind of jobs'.
“Recruiters are reporting a renewed sense of purpose from their clients, with employers making hiring decisions more quickly than before. Highly skilled jobs like engineering and IT are still big growth areas, and the reports of shortages of people to fill sales vacancies show that companies are gearing up for increases in business investment and consumer spending.
“All the feedback from recruiters is that employers intend to continue to increase their use of flexible staffing in the months ahead.”
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