Growth in job vacancies at six-year high – including permanent roles

‘Jobs market looking buoyant again’, says REC

Less than 24 hours after new Bank of England governor Mark Carney announced that interest rates would stay the same until unemployment falls to 7 per cent, a new report suggests record demand for new staff in the UK.

According to the KPMG/REC Report on Jobs – for the month of July – permanent staff appointments rose at their fastest rate since March 2010, with the number of vacancies hitting a six-year high.

Increased demand for permanent staff was recorded in all nine sectors included in the analysis, with engineering showing the fastest rate of growth. Second-placed for growth was the IT and computing sector, followed by the executives/professional sector.

The results also found growth in all four geographic areas monitored, with the fastest jobs acceleration in the north of England.

With most new jobs since the recession being temporary roles (the Association of Professional Staffing Companies recently reported a 7 per cent year-on-year rise), today’s figures are significant because they show a sharp rise in vacancies for permanent positions too.

Bernard Brown, partner and head of services at KPMG, said: “Confidence is certainly evident amongst employers. They are beginning to invest in their people and, as the search for talent is stepped up, the jobs market is looking buoyant again.

With an index of 50 indicating ‘no change’, the Report on Jobs index for permanent staff placements for July was 63.3, up from 57.6 in June.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said: “The jobs market is skyrocketing, with permanent employment at a three-year high, on top of the vacancy growth accelerating to a six-year high.”

“A combination of confidence returning to the UK economy and higher employer demand have contributed to this impressive set of figures.”

The report also showed that pay growth is up, with the rate of inflation for permanent staff salaries now at its highest for more than two years.

However, with strong jobs growth comes a warning to HR teams, added Brown.

“If the current trend continues, employers will be faced with another conundrum,” he explained. “For some time staff have sat tight, refusing to move when job security was low. Now the best staff will be looking for better offers, so employers will need to strike a balance between recruiting new blood and retaining their best employees.”

The UK’s current unemployment rate stands at 7.8 per cent. Mark Carney said that  fall to 7 per cent would require the creation of an extra 750,000 jobs and take up to three years.

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