Main points are:
- Permanent placements and temporary billings rise at slower rates
- Job vacancies increase at fastest pace for 20 months
- Availability of permanent staff declines
- Temp availability unchanged
- Pay growth quickens but remains subdued overall
The main findings for December are:
Slower rises in permanent and temporary appointments...
Although there were further increases in permanent and temporary staff appointments during December, in both cases the rates of growth eased since November.
...despite vacancies increasing at faster pace
Demand for staff continued to rise in December. The rate of expansion of overall job vacancies quickened to the fastest in 20 months. Data signalled increased vacancies from both private and public sector employers.
Fall in availability of permanent staff
The availability of permanent staff declined in December for the first time since April, albeit modestly. Temporary/contract staff availability was meanwhile unchanged, ending a 56-month sequence of growth.
Moderate increases in wages and salaries
Rates of inflation of permanent salaries and temp wages quickened to 15- and nine-month highs respectively in December, although remained modest overall.
Recruitment consultancies report on the number of people placed in permanent jobs each month, and their revenues (billings) received from placing people in temporary or contract positions at employers.
Recruitment consultancies signalled another month of rising staff appointments in December. However, rates of expansion in both permanent placements and temp billings eased since November.
Slower rise in permanent appointments...
After accounting for expected seasonal factors, the latest data signalled an increase in the number of people placed in permanent roles for the third month running during December. Although still solid, the rate of expansion eased to the weakest in that sequence following November’s 19-month high.
Data for the English regions showed that growth of permanent placements remained strongest in the North during December. The Midlands also saw a marked rise, while growth in the South was solid. In contrast, London registered a sharp drop in placements.
...while temp billings also increase at weaker pace
Agencies’ billings from the employment of short-term staff continued to rise in December, extending the current period of growth to five months. The rate of expansion was solid, despite easing from November’s 20-month record.
Growth of temp billings was broad-based across the English regions in the latest survey period, with the South posting the fastest rise. The weakest increase was signalled in London.
Commenting on the latest survey results, Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, said:
“It’s concerning to see the pace of recruitment slowing. Job placements may still be moving in the right direction but questions must now be asked about whether the declining rate of growth is indicative of a longer-term problem. It seems that the time lag many economists spoke about towards the end of last year is shrinking, as employers delay decisions until they have more certainty about the economy. Individuals are also showing signs that they’d rather stick with what they know, as the numbers making themselves available for permanent roles has dropped for the first time since April 2012.
“However, with some areas of the country outperforming others and the private sector seeing more job placements in December the hope must be that employers will handle this latest setback. They certainly reacted positively to news that a fiscal cliff was avoided in the US and, if this is anything to go by, we should see the trend for rising employment continue. It may be slower than in the last few months of 2012, but growth should still be welcomed.”
Jonathan Fagan, MD at Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.