Starting salaries have risen at their sharpest rate for six months as the skills shortage continues to bite, according to the latest report from The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC). The information that the REC uses for its latest examination of the labour market in the UK is gathered from recruitment consultancies. Individual agencies will have a good level of knowledge about trends in their area or particular sector but it’s beneficial to have an overview of the industry across the country.
The main points of the REC/KPMG report
• A continued growth in permanent placements at the same pace as the previous month. Temporary placements, although still high, saw a slight dip in growth.
• The number of job vacancies rose to a five-month high in March.
• Starting salaries for permanent workers hit a six-month high and hourly rates for contract or temporary workers also rose, albeit more slowly.
• Growth was greatest in the Midlands and the south of England but all areas of the UK followed a similar pattern.
• There was a reduction in the number of permanent candidates in March and the availability of temporary workers dipped at its fastest rate since October 2014.
• Demand for permanent staff was highest in the private sector with the key areas being engineering, accounting and executive.
• With temporary workers, nursing and care workers saw the sharpest increase in demand. Teachers were also proving hard to find for temporary positions.
REC chief executive Kevin Green
REC chief executive Kevin Green puts the increases in salaries and the number of people moving jobs down to confidence, but he warns about the threat to economic recovery of a skills shortage.
“Candidates are confident about looking for work and there are opportunities to earn more for those who do,” he says. “Employers need to realise that people are deciding to change jobs because they can earn more than in their current jobs.”
He underlines the fact that there are ‘acute shortages’ in the public sector, particularly in the recruitment of teachers and healthcare staff and adds: “As politicians debate skills, education and immigration in the run-up to the election, we hope they recognise the potential impact of this skills crisis, because a lack of workers to meet demand threatens the sustainability of our economic growth.”
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