Hiring conditions improved at the end of 2019, according to the latest KPMG and REC UK Report on Jobs.
For the first time in a year, permanent staff appointments increased at the end of the year, with temporary billings also picking up from November too.
Although rates of expansion were ‘notably’ weaker than has been seen on average of the history of the survey, the KPMG and REC UK Report on Jobs revealed that some firms have approved new hires following a long period of delayed decision-making and rising business requirements.
Elsewhere in the KPMG and REC UK Report on Jobs – compiled by IHS Markit from responses to questionnaires sent to hundreds of recruitment and employment constituencies – demand for staff has increased, albeit at a relatively sluggish pace.
Brexit uncertainty – which should be alleviated somewhat in the coming months – has contributed to a ‘marked fall’ in candidate numbers, while generally tight labour market conditions have also contributed.
It means that starting pay in December for permanent and short-term staff increased at a slightly quicker pace than in November.
Permanent staff appointments increased in London, the Midlands and the North of England, but fell in the South; meanwhile, detailed regional data highlighted increases in temp billings across all four monitored areas – though the Midlands enjoyed the greatest growth rate.
Demand for permanent and temporary staff remained solid in the private sector, where increases were seen, as permanent vacancies rose in eight of the 10 areas monitored by the survey.
Blue collar and engineering saw the steepest increases, whereas on the other end of the scale, retail registered a further fall – perhaps unsurprisingly in the context of business administration records in that sector.
James Stewart, Vice Chair at KPMG, said the general election outcome has contributed to the positive results of the survey, but called for further government action to improve the situation further.
“It would appear that following the clarity of the election outcome, the jobs market finally began to show signs of life with permanent placements rising for the first time in a year.
“However, growth was modest and coming off a historically low base, so UK business will be hoping for quick government action to get the UK back on the path to growth including an investment in upskilling the workforce.
“Lingering uncertainty around the Brexit deal to be secured will continue to weigh on employers’ decision making around hiring and investment over the coming months, as well as job seekers desires to seek new opportunities.”