In the month of June, recruitment activity surged due to greater demand for staff and the partial easing of lockdown restrictions.

According to the new KPMG and REC UK Report on Jobs, robust demand for staff during June led to a sizeable increase in the number of vacancies filled.

Permanent appointments growth occurred at the highest rate since records began in 1997, while the upturn in temp billings was the fastest in nearly 23 years.

Simultaneously, the growth in vacancies also reached new heights as industries such as hospitality began to reopen and lockdown restrictions started to ease, renewing market confidence.

However, the availability of staff declined at an unprecedented rate which was driven by falls in the supply of both temporary and permanent staff.

The main contributing factors for this included increased hiring, Brexit, pandemic-related uncertainty and the furlough scheme.

This lack of staff affected rates of starting pay which rose rapidly at the end of the second quarter.

The steepest increase in demand was seen for permanent private sector staff, closely followed by temporary private sector workers. Nonetheless, growth of demand for staff was also historically strong across the public sector.

Claire Warnes, Partner and Head of Education, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK, said:

June’s data confirms that momentum in the jobs market continues to surge, with improved business confidence leading to record high recruitment activity. As we move towards the final easing of pandemic restrictions, permanent role availability increased at the quickest rate since the survey began in 1997 and temporary roles rose to the greatest extent for 23-and-a-half years.

But for the fourth month running we’re seeing a decline in the availability of candidates to fill all these new roles and the most severe deterioration for 24 years. We need action from businesses and government to reskill and upskill furloughed and prospective workers now more than ever, as the increasing skills gap in the workforce has the potential to slow the UK’s economic recovery.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

Recruiters are working flat out to fill roles across our economy. The jobs market is improving at the fastest pace we have ever seen, but it is still an unpredictable time. We can’t yet tell how much the ending of furlough and greater candidate confidence will help to meet this rising demand for staff. In some key shortage sectors like hospitality, food, driving and IT, more support is likely to be needed to avoid slowing the recovery.

That means supporting transitions into growing sectors through unemployment support and new skills programmes, as well as making sure the new immigration system reacts to demand, as promised. But it also means that hiring companies need to re-assess their workforce plans. In a tight jobs market, working with professional recruiters to position your firm as an employer of choice is a must.


*The KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs is compiled by IHS Markit from responses to questionnaires sent to a panel of around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies.