Plunge in staff availability as UK jobs surge

THE RAPID recovery in the UK’s labour market still shows no signs of slowing down, according to a new report, with the availability of permanent employees dropping at the fastest rate in 17 years.

The latest research on jobs conducted by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG indicates the fastest drop in availability of workers looking for permanent jobs since November 1997.

The survey also indicates emerging pay inflation again, with salary increases for permanent candidates barely down from April, when they rose for the fastest pace in six and a half years.

Pay for temporary positions rose at a more rapid pace than in any month since the end of 2007.

“Trying to fill vacancies in the current climate must feel like wandering through a hall of mirrors for the UK’s employers,” said Bernard Brown of KPMG.

“No sooner are they in a position to reflect the improving economy by creating roles and offering tempting salaries, than the search for talent seems to reach a dead end, with candidates either preferring to hide in the shadows or failing to offer the appropriate skills.”

The spike in demand for new staff is widespread. The survey shows that the strongest rise in permanent placements was in the Midlands during May, with London seeing the slowest growth in the country.

Reed’s job index, which was also released today, shows that apprenticeship opportunities have increased by 143 per cent in the past 12 months.

Similarly, the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) reveals this morning that the sector grew by eight per cent in 2013 – the fastest pace since 2007. Along with this, recruitment rose by 16 per cent.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics published on Wednesday indicated that the UK employment rate is now practically back at its long term average, at 72.7 per cent.

The Bank of England insists that there is still slack in the UK labour market, pointing to slow wage growth and an elevated number of people who say they would ideally like to work more hours.