Thursday 8 August 2019 9:39 am

Uncertainty hits UK jobs market as hiring wanes

Hiring remained subdued last month, as ongoing political and economy uncertainty continued to cast a cloud over the UK’s job market.

Permanent staff appointments tumbled for the fifth consecutive month in July.

Read more: US employment reaches new high

The rate of growth in starting salaries awarded to newly placed permanent staff also slumped to a 27-month low, according to the latest KPMG and REC “UK Report on Jobs”.

Vacancies rose further across the private sector during July, but declined in the public sector. In the private sector, demand strengthened for both permanent and temporary staff, with vacancies growing sharply in each case.

However, public sector permanent vacancies declined for the fifth month in a row, while short-term staff demand fell for the first time since January.

“Businesses continue to take a cautious approach to hiring as Brexit and economic uncertainty linger,” said James Stewart, vice chair at KPMG.

Stewart added: “With the UK unemployment rate already at a four-decade low, candidate shortages in the labour market continue to push up rates of starting pay. This will likely cause concern for businesses looking to control their costs and recruit the right people for the long term. Ultimately, businesses will be eager to see a Brexit breakthrough in Westminster to help re-establish market confidence on hiring and investment.”

Read more: BofE chief economist cautious against interest rate cut

Recruitment consultancies registered a further decline in candidate availability, which was commonly attributed to a high employment rate and lingering market uncertainty.

The steepest increase in demand for permanent staff was seen in IT & computing, while the only sectors to see reduced vacancies were construction and retail.