KEY POINTS FROM SURVEY
Permanent placements decline again, while temp billings expand only modestly
Upturn in candidate availability slows sharply
Demand for staff broadly stable after drop in January
FOR THE NORTH OF ENGLAND
Permanent placements rise amid improved demand for workers
First fall in permanent labour supply since January 2020
Permanent starting salaries decline but temp wages rise
NATIONAL LOCKDOWN WEIGHS ON RECRUITMENT DECISIONS IN FEBRUARY
Commenting on the latest survey results, James Stewart, Vice Chair at KMPG, said:
“Business confidence remained subdued in February, with a further drop in permanent appointments and the lingering pandemic uncertainty still evident.
“The jobs market remains on hold with hiring decisions stalled, people reluctant to seek new roles and the growth in temporary billings has also slowed. However, it is encouraging that it’s not seeing the big drop in vacancies or hiring that were seen in the first national lockdown.
“There’s a long way to go to rebuild confidence in the UK jobs market. But with the
Covid roadmap to recovery in place and the Chancellor’s Budget announcement to further support businesses and individuals, there is reason for optimism for the UK’s future workforce.”
Neil Carberry, Recruitment & Employment Confederation chief executive, said:
“Given the national lockdown that has been in place for the past two months, the labour market has coped remarkably well. Permanent placements have only fallen modestly, while vacancies and candidate availability have stabilised. Meanwhile, businesses have continued to use temporary work to help them through this tough period. We are well-positioned for a recovery as restrictions are lifted – but both businesses and workers will need help to do so.
“With that in mind, there was some good news in this week’s Budget. It was sensible to extend support measures like the furlough scheme and business tax deferrals while health restrictions are still in place, and expand support for the self-employed. But more could have been done to tackle the big economic transitions we face, encouraging growth and reducing unemployment. For example, cutting employers’ National Insurance to encourage job retention and creation, replacing the failed apprenticeship levy with a flexible levy that meets the economy’s needs, and investing in job finding services with recruiters at their heart.”
DEMAND FOR STAFF BY SECTOR
Recruitment consultancies in the UK signalled back-to-back monthly falls in the number of people placed into permanent positions in February. Though strong, the pace of decline was much weaker than that seen in January, when the third national lockdown began. Panel members often mentioned that clients had delayed hiring plans until restrictions related to COVID-19 begin to ease and business conditions start to normalise.
Permanent placements declined across all four monitored English regions bar the North of England. The South of England registered the sharpest rate of reduction overall, closely followed by London.
Demand for permanent staff rose across four of the ten monitored job categories in February. Nursing/Medical/Care saw by far the steepest increase, followed by IT & Computing. Hotel &
Catering saw the sharpest drop in permanent vacancies.
Adjusted for seasonal influences, the Temporary Billings Index posted above the neutral 50.0 mark, to signal a further rise in billings received from the employment of temp workers in February. That said, the rate of growth was the softest seen in the current seven-month sequence of expansion and modest. Anecdotal evidence suggested that firmer demand for temp staff and new projects had boosted billings in the latest survey period. Others commented on relatively sluggish market conditions due to the latest national lockdown.
On a regional basis, the steepest increase in temp billings was seen in the Midlands. London meanwhile recorded a further decline, and one that was the quickest since mid-2020.
Nursing/Medical/Care also topped the rankings in terms of temp vacancy growth in February, while Blue Collar placed second. Demand for temporary workers meanwhile fell markedly across the Hotel & Catering and Retail sectors.
Hotel & Catering
SKILLS IN SHORT SUPPLY
Key Permanent Staff Skills
Accountancy/Financial: Accountants, Auditors, Book Keepers, Credit Controllers, Estimators, Finance, Management Accountants, Payroll, Risk and Taxation.
Blue Collar: Drivers, FLT Drivers, LGV Drivers, Warehouse, Welders.
Construction: Architectural Technicians, Quantity Surveyors.
Engineering: Civil Engineers, Senior Electronic Engineers, Technicians.
Executive/ Professional: Compliance, Directors, Executives, HR, Legal, Management, Marketing, Project Managers.
IT/Computing: Agile Project Managers, Analysts, Automation Testers, Bi, C#, CAD, CNC, Cyber, Cyber Security, Data Scientists, Developers, Digital, IT, PMP, Python, SAP, Software Engineers, Technical Managers.
Nursing/Medical /Care: Carers, Clinical Research managers, Health Care Assistants, Hearing Aid Dispensers, Nurses, Optometrists, Social Workers.
Retail: E-Commerce, Retail.
Secretarial/ Clerical: Administration.
Other: Customer Service, Customs, European Language Speakers, Freight, Health and Safety, Life Science, Logistics, Microbiologists, Sales, Scandinavian Speakers, Skilled, Stock Controllers.
Key Temp Skills
Accountancy/Financial: Accountants, Auditors, Book Keepers, Credit Controllers, Finance, Payroll and Taxation.
Blue Collar: Cleaners, Electricians, FLT Drivers, HGV Drivers, LGV Drivers, Manufacturing, Production, Retail, Swing Machinists, Upholsterers, Warehouse, Welders.
Construction: Architectural Technicians, Bricklayers, Labourers.
Executive/Professional: HR, Legal, Management, Operation Managers.
Hotels/Catering: None recorded.
IT/Computing: Automation Testers, Bi, C#, CNC, Cyber, Data Scientists, Developers, IT, Java, Software Engineers, Technology.
Nursing/Medical/Care: Carers, Chemists, Doctors, Health Care Assistants, Hearing Aid Dispensers, Nurses, Optometrists, Pharmacists, Social Workers, Support Workers.
Retail: None recorded.
Other: European Language Speakers, Freight, Logistics, Microbiologists, Sales, Scandinavian Speakers, Semi-Skilled, Skilled, Stock Controllers.
KINGSTON RECRUITMENT LTD
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The Kingston Recruitment Team