Permanent staff appointments fall for seventh consecutive month

Permanent staff appointments have fallen for the seventh month in a row amidst a background of political and economic uncertainty in the UK.

This is according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG’s latest report, UK Report on Jobs which also found that overall vacancies are rising at the weakest rate since January 2012.

The supply of both permanent and temporary candidates are continuing to fall which the reports attributed to “the fact that people are becoming more hesitant to seek new jobs.”

This drop has led to a drop in the number of candidate numbers and exerted upward pressure on rates of pay fuelling the “war for talent”. September saw vacancy growth ease for the second month in a row, this being the slowest expansion of vacancies since January 2012.

Starting salaries increased as the rate of inflation “quickened from August’s 32-month low to signal a sharp increase in pay overall.”

James Stewart, vice chair at KPMG, said:

The Brexit impasse continues to affect the jobs market with employers stuck, unable to make informed decisions, and people unwilling to risk seeking new roles.

Given that it’s the weakest increase in job vacancies since 2012 and the longest period that permanent staff appointments have fallen since the global financial crisis, it would seem that it’s proving difficult for businesses to shake off the heightened uncertainty and unknowns. So with the deadline fast approaching, they may well be waiting to get clarity on the future direction of Brexit before making any key decisions on hiring and investment.

Neil Carberry, chief executive of REC, said:

Businesses are positive about their own prospects, but ongoing Brexit uncertainty has led many firms to delay projects and hiring decisions. Vacancy growth has fallen to its lowest since 2012. The UK’s vibrant temporary work market is playing an important role in helping employers to manage the ongoing uncertainty and job-seekers to find work.

There are deeper issues which must be addressed to secure the UK’s future prosperity. Productivity is falling, and there are skills shortages in vital sectors across the economy. Solving these problems must be top of the government’s to-do list once the Brexit deadlock has been broken.

This report was compiled by IHS Markit. a global information provider from responses to questionnaires sent to a panel of around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies.