PERMANENT job vacancies were at their most plentiful for half a year in May, with 39 per cent of recruitment agencies reporting more placements, and 30 per cent reporting fewer.
These findings are based on questions asked to 400 recruitment groups by KPMG, Markit, and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).
The survey also found signs of growth in temporary contracts. The highest growth in permanent positions was reported in the north of England, while London saw a small reduction in vacancies, belying its reputation as the driver of the UK’s economic recovery.
Public employment was down for the fifth consecutive month, with the increase spurred by the private sector.
Although agencies confirmed that both temporary and permanent salaries were still on the increase, growth was moderate given the pressure of above-target inflation. Four in five said that wages for permanent contracts had stayed the same, and 87 per cent said the same of pay in temporary jobs. Despite the public sector pay freeze, wages in government jobs saw the largest salary growth.
Even given the lack of notable growth in wages, Bernard Brown, partner at KPMG, said there were reasons to be optimistic. “It looks as if months of rhetoric are finally becoming a reality. With permanent placements hitting a six-month high it seems that private sector jobs are boosting the chances of employment.”
Despite the high unemployment rate, there was a lower availability of candidates to fill vacancies in May, especially in skilled professions like accountancy. Brown said: “Given the desire for job security, it is also no surprise that fewer candidates are making themselves available.”