Bankers and graduates hit with crashing wages and less hiring

Ben Southwood
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WORKERS are taking a hammering as appointments collapse and wages stagnate, according to recruitment industry research published today.

Permanent placements slumped in June – the first fall in six months and the quickest drop for three years, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG report on jobs showed.

The index crashed from 51 in May, to 46.8 in June. A score of 50 indicates no change.

“The real worry is that the acceleration in the pace of decline suggests this isn’t a mere blip,” said Bernard Brown, head of business services at KPMG, after temporary staff billings fell for the seventh month running, accelerating to the fastest pace of contraction since mid 2009.

Chief executive of REC Kevin Green said: “A decrease in hiring activity means we could see a period of increased unemployment, especially as a new wave of school leavers and graduates enter the labour market over the summer.”

Separate research published by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies showed graduate salaries were down 20.5 per cent on last year, while banking and insurance performed consistently poorly across nearly all regions and job types.

Although the results show permanent placements rising 17 per cent in June compared to May, the level of placements was still down strongly on the year.

“The latest data are an improvement on the bad news from early spring, but it’s not clear that this is the beginning of a long-term positive trend,” said chief executive Ann Swain.

“It’s not been a good time to be a banker recently, and fears about new regulation, whether from Europe or the UK, in the wake of the recent scandals could put a dampener on recruitment.”