Recruitment consultants in the North of England indicated that the number of staff placed in permanent positions rose in November, marking a seven-month sequence of expansion. The overall rate of growth was sharp and faster than in the previous month. Moreover, it surpassed the UK average. November data indicated that permanent staff placements also rose in the other three English regions monitored by the survey. The strongest increase was registered in the Midlands, where the growth rate reached a 44-month peak.
Temporary/contract staff billings across the North increased for the sixteenth successive month in November. Despite easing to the weakest in six months, the overall rate of expansion remained marked and above the long-run survey average. Temp billings also increased in the other three monitored English regions. As with the trend for permanent staff appointments, the sharpest rise was noted in the Midlands.
Demand for permanent workers across the North of England rose at the strongest rate for almost 16 years during November, while the rise in temp staff demand was the quickest since June 1998. In both cases, the growth rates outpaced those seen at the national level.
Permanent candidate availability drops for tenth successive month
The number of candidates available to be placed in permanent roles decreased in November, stretching the current sequence of contraction to ten months. Although marked, the overall rate of decline eased since the previous month and was slower than that seen at the national level. For the fifth month running, recruitment consultants across all four English regions indicated lower permanent candidate availability in November. Rates of contraction were sharp in all cases, with the Midlands posting the quickest drop in nine years.
November data indicated that temp/contract staff availability in the North of England decreased for the second month running. Despite accelerating to the quickest since July, the overall rate of contraction was slower than the UK average. Evidence from panellists highlighted shortages of Engineering, IT & Computing and Blue Collar temp workers. Meanwhile, temp supply fell at a faster rate in the Midlands, whereas slower declines were seen in the South and London. At the UK level, temp availability contracted at the sharpest rate since November 2004.
Permanent pay increases at faster pace than temp hourly rates
Salaries paid to newly appointed permanent workers in the North of England increased for the twenty-first successive month in November. Although the slowest since August, the overall rate of salary inflation remained strong and was well above the long-run series average. Rates of salary inflation accelerated in the South and London during November, while permanent pay across the Midlands increased at a weaker rate than in the previous month. At the UK level, the rate of inflation reached a six-year high.
Temp pay rates in the North rose in November. In contrast to the trend seen for permanent salaries, the rate of wage inflation accelerated since October. Nevertheless, the index measuring average hourly pay rates was consistent with only a modest pace of increase. Temp pay rates rose at faster rates in two other surveyed English regions in November, namely the Midlands and the South. At the national level, the overall rate of wage inflation was marked and faster than in October.
Chris Hearld, senior partner at KPMG in Yorkshire, comments:
“Six months ago – after almost five years of pain – most employers in the North were wondering just how real the signs of recovery were. Businesses certainly seem more confident now, because, as 2013 draws to a close, companies in the North are maintaining their recruitment drive to the point that the rate of growth in vacancies has reached a high not seen in almost 16 years, surpassing the national average.
“Employers are trying to tempt top talent to change jobs by offering more in the way of cash or incentives. It’s a tactic that may bring short-term success, but risks inflating the jobs market and risks unnecessary and unsustainable pressure just at the time cash flow problems are easing.”
REC chief executive Kevin Green says:
“We enter the New Year with job vacancies increasing. The fact that our figures show starting salaries continuing to grow, combined with continued skill and talent shortages, indicates that we can expect salaries to increase and job fluidity to accelerate into 2014.
“Report on Jobs show that all sectors, all regions and both the private and public sectors are in growth, which is fantastic news for British businesses, the UK economy and people looking for work in 2014.”