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KPMG survey: Employment in UK is rising

THE number of people placed in permanent employment in the UK grew at its fastest pace last month since July 2007.

Vacancies and salaries also increased and staff availability was at its weakest since April 2008, according to the report by KPMG and The Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

Demand for staff also rose last month, extending the current period of growth to five months.

The figures show that the UK is over the worst of the recession and on the road to recovery, said Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG.

The strongest growth sectors were IT and computing as well as engineering and construction, two sectors particularly badly hit by the recession.

However growth of temporary staff contracts slowed to its lowest rate since November last year due to employers opting not to renew contracts. Temporary staff hourly pay rates also rose only marginally.

The figures are in stark contrast to how employees feel. Job security remains a major worry for British households and many believe their jobs were less secure than a month ago, according to the survey.

“Although less marked than one year ago when the downturn was at its most severe, job worries have failed to significantly recede despite recent signs of stabilisation in the labour market; latest data from the Office for National Statistics showed a second straight fall in unemployment in the three months to December,” the report said.

But employees fears are justified if, as expected, public sector jobs are slashed after the next election.

Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation said the public sector must look at innovative ways to prevent heavy job cuts.

“There are indications that recruitment in the public sector could drop off fast. A new approach to public sector resourcing is now critical and will have a direct impact on the wider employment outlook. Rather than responding with random job cuts, the public sector needs to embrace radical reform. Flexible working must be seen as part of the cost solution, rather than the problem,” he said.