By Daniel Hunter

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs, published today (Friday), has revealed a slowing of growth of staff appointments in February.

Recruitment consultancies signalled further increases in permanent placements and temp billings during February. However, in both cases the rates of expansion moderated. Permanent appointments rose at the slowest pace in the current five-month sequence of expansion, while short-term appointments increased at the weakest rate since last August.

Overall demand for staff rose at the slowest rate in four months during February, although the pace of expansion remained marked. Slightly weaker increases were signalled for both permanent and temporary vacancies.
Faster increase in permanent salaries

Starting salaries for people placed in permanent jobs by recruitment consultancies rose further in February. The rate of inflation quickened to a 17- month high, although it remained modest in the context of historical data. Hourly pay rates for temporary/contract staff were little-changed, showing only a fractional rise.

The availability of candidates to fill permanent vacancies decreased for a third consecutive month in February, albeit marginally. Temporary/contract staff availability meanwhile increased for the second month running and at a modest rate.

“Competition for candidates intensified this month with private sector employers racing to secure the talent they need for growth from a decreasing pool of skilled workers. Starting salaries have risen to a 17 month high as companies realise they need to make more attractive offers to ensure they can persuade workers to join their workforce and not their rivals," REC director of policy Tom Hadley said.

“There’s also noticeable demand for skilled staff to support infrastructure developments such as water and rail. With the Chancellor’s Budget only weeks away and more investment in infrastructure expected, a growing concern will be whether or not the UK has the skilled staff needed to get these projects off the ground.

“This month saw increased demand for both temporary and permanent workers across all the sectors we measure, which is a really positive indicator for a continued recovery.”

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