Job openings still on the rise but pace slows

Marion Dakers
THE PACE of growth in permanent and temporary jobs slowed in February, according to a survey out today, hinting that a six-month stretch of hiring in UK businesses could be running out of steam.

The number of staff placed in permanent jobs fell to a seasonally-adjusted 52.7, above the 50 rate indicating no change but the slowest rate of expansion since September, research by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation showed.

Temporary placements also remain in growth, with an index score of 51.6, though this is the weakest reading since August.

“Appointments may still be moving in a positive direction, but with the pace of recruitment dropping to its slowest pace for five months, it won’t be a surprise if hiring decisions are delayed further, putting candidates and employers in an unwanted state of limbo,” said Bernard Brown, head of business services at KPMG.

All English regions reported a rise in permanent placements last month, though London saw the weakest improvement at 51.5.

Robust growth in the private sector continues to offset dwindling job opportunities within the state.

Vacancies for permanent public sector roles recorded an index score of 47.8, the fourth month in five to show signs of contraction.

The slump compares to a score of 63 for permanent private sector positions. Overall, the vacancy rate stands at a four-month low.

Demand for permanent staff in the accounting and financial sectors has improved on last year, with a score of 56.7, up from 51.2 in February 2012.