Friday 8 November 2019 1:01 am

Hiring remains subdued amid uncertainty

Hiring activity remained subdued last month as employers held tight amid the current Brexit uncertainty, according to a new report.

Permanent staff appointments fell solidly at the start of the fourth quarter, with many employers choosing to cancel or postpone hiring until there was greater clarity over the outlook.

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The findings, released today by KPMG and the REC, also showed that “an uncertain outlook also weighed on candidate availability during October, as people were reluctant to seek out new roles”.

Total candidate numbers fell at the sharpest pace for four months, driven by a steep fall in permanent labour supply, as the availability of temporary staff declined at a softer pace.

“Businesses are still waiting to hear that starting gun, and until there is some certainty around Brexit and now the election, employers continue to stall on creating vacancies and making permanent hires,” said James Stewart, vice chair at KPMG.

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He added: “It’s not just businesses that are being cautious, however, and over October we’ve seen job-seekers become increasingly nervous about making a career change. The lucky few that do find jobs are continuing to demand higher pay as reflected in the rise in starting salaries and temp pay.”

Neil Carberry, REC chief executive, said: “These figures underline why this needs to be a jobs election. The labour market is strong, but permanent placements have now dropped for eight months in a row, and vacancies growth has fallen to its lowest level since January 2012. One bright spark is the temporary labour market, which continues to provide flexible work to people and businesses that need it during troubled times.