The London jobs market is improving after six months of downturn as demand for permanent staff hits a 10-month high, a new study says.
London recruiters reported a net increase in permanent job placements for the first time since April, according to the report by IHS Markit and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).
However, the growth rate in London was below the UK-wide average, according to analysis of the survey of 400 recruitment firms. The London index of permanent employment rose by 1.6 points to 50.8, while the total UK index rose to 55.6. A figure above 50 indicates an increase.
The figures correspond to findings in a separate index of recruitment activity by Reed.co.uk, which shows that the UK jobs market up by 7 per cent compared with last year.
London’s unemployment rate of 5.6 per cent is the lowest it has been since regional records began in 1992, although still above the rate for the UK as a whole, at 4.8 per cent, according to the government’s Office for National Statistics.
The strength of the market has turned attention towards the possibility of skills shortages as the UK’s unemployment rate hits lows not seen since well before the global crisis. Financial services and accounting professionals are particularly in demand, as well as IT staff.
“London is particularly vulnerable to shortages,” said Kate Shoesmith, REC head of policy. “It’s particularly difficult to find staff in certain key sectors.”
REC also warned of the impact that migration controls could have for employers in an already tightening market.
“Employers and individual employees alike are concerned,” said Shoesmith. “We do not have enough people looking for work.”