Employment Continues to Rise in August, But is it All Good?

A recent report released by IHS Markit and REC examines the current state of the UK jobs market, revealing the latest statistics. And whilst things have seemed fairly uninspiring post-Brexit, the tide seems to be turning.

Here are the key take-aways:

Employment Numbers are Increasing

The total number of people gaining employment in full-time jobs rose sharply in August. This rate of growth slowed slightly on July’s 27-month-high. August also saw considerable growth in temporary placements to the highest rate since the beginning of 2015.

At the same time, we are seeing a steep increase in job vacancies, with demand for staff reaching its highest point since April 2015.

Salary Growth

In yet more good news, starting salaries have increased for the 4th month in a row, the highest rate of growth since October 2015. This also include temp pay, which has risen at the sharpest rate in 16 months.

Candidate Numbers are Dropping

Despite all of this good news, the number of candidates applying for full time job roles has continued to decrease dramatically in August, a sharper decline than was seen in July. By the same token, temp staff applications have fallen to a 20 month low.

Placements Vary by Location

Permanent placements have strongly increased in the Midlands and the North of England, however London’s rate has been marginal; the slowest of all regions in the UK.

Regarding temporary positions, the Midlands has seen the fastest rate of growth, with the South of England coming in a close second. And across the UK, temporary jobs are gaining in popularity on permanent positions.

Variations by Sector

The private sector has seen a large boost in demand, with both permanent and temporary positions increasing considerably in August.

Although eclipsed by the rate of demand in the private sector, the public sector has also seen steep growth in both short term and permanent staff vacancies. Moreover, demand for temporary public workers continues to beat permanent positions.

The steepest increases in vacancies was seen in IT & computing, closely followed by the accounting and financial sector. At the bottom end, construction has seen the smallest increase in demand for permanent staff.

Regarding temporary workers, blue collar jobs, engineering and the medical sectors were the top three in terms of growth, however all sectors have seen a sizeable increase in demand for short-term staff.

Speaking on the matter, Kevin Green, REC Chief Executive said:

“As this month’s report clearly shows, employers are increasingly turning to recruitment agencies as it becomes harder to find the people to fill the jobs available. There are two trends at play. Businesses are seeking more professional and managerial capability, so we’re seeing high demand for roles like financial directors, analysts, and compliance and HR professionals. Meanwhile, there is a significant shortage of people to fill blue collar roles such as drivers, electricians, and construction workers, and this is being exacerbated by a fall in net migration from the EU.

“In many areas of the jobs market candidate supply cannot meet demand. Employers are having to offer more money to secure the people with the skills they need. While the working population in general has experienced a pay squeeze, there are clearly opportunities now to earn more by moving jobs.

“This is good news for individuals, but businesses will be concerned about the sustainability of this trend. Businesses can only grow if they have access the people and skills they need. It is essential that the government recognises this by developing an evidence-based immigration system that will support the economy.”

So whilst we are seeing a positive trend in terms of business growth, this is being hampered by the lack of staff availability. To echo what Kevin Green said, this is going to require a considered approach to EU migrant workers in order to stop the brain drain that the UK is suffering from.

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