Report on Jobs: Staff appointments increase at softest pace for six months

Key points:

  • Growth of staff appointments held back by uncertain outlook and skill shortages
  • Availability of permanent and temporary workers continues to fall sharply
  • Starting salaries increase at second-quickest rate since November 2015


The IHS Markit/REC Report on Jobs – published today – provides the most comprehensive guide to the UK labour market, drawing on original survey data provided by recruitment consultancies.

Staff appointments expand at softer pace

Growth in permanent staff placements remained robust at the start of the final quarter of 2017, despite the rate of increase edging down to a six-month low. Temp billings also rose at the softest pace since April, though growth remained comfortably above the survey average.

Growth of demand for staff remains sharp despite edging down

Staff vacancies rose sharply for permanent and temporary roles during October. This was despite growth of demand softening for the second successive month across both categories.

Availability of candidates continues to decline sharply…

October data pointed to a further marked decline in the availability of temporary and permanent workers across the UK, with the latter noting the steeper rate of reduction.

…leading to further increase in pay rates

A sustained upturn in demand for staff and lower candidate availability led to further increases in pay. Starting salaries rose sharply overall, with the rate of inflation quickening to its second-strongest since November 2015. In contrast, temp pay rates rose at a pace that, though marked, was the weakest since March.

Regional variation

On a regional basis, Scotland registered the quickest upturn in permanent placements in October, followed by the Midlands. London meanwhile saw a solid increase after a marginal drop in September.

Temp billings rose sharply across all monitored UK regions, led by the North of England. The softest, albeit still marked, increase was seen in the Midlands.

Sector variation

Recruitment consultants signalled further increases in demand for staff across both the private and public sector during October.

The private sector continued to record the quickest upturn in demand for staff, and registered sharp increases in both permanent and temporary staff vacancies. Meanwhile, growth of demand for temporary workers remained stronger than that for permanent staff in the public sector.

October data indicated that Accounting/Financial remained at the top of the rankings for permanent staff demand. IT & Computing and Engineering scored second and third place, respectively. The least marked increase in permanent vacancies was seen for construction workers.

Broad-based growth of demand for temporary staff was reported in October. The strongest increase was signalled for Nursing/Medical/Care workers, followed by Blue Collar and Accounting/Financial.

Kevin Green, REC Chief Executive says:

“Last month, recruiters helped even more people find permanent jobs – this is great news as it shows that employers are continuing to hire. However, the data also shows that growth is slowing down and one of the reasons is that we simply do not have enough people for all the roles that are out there at the moment. And the number of vacancies is still getting higher.

“For jobseekers this is good news as employers are willing to pay higher starting wages to attract the right candidates.

“We already know that EU workers are leaving because of the uncertainties they are facing right now. We therefore need clarity around what future immigration systems will look like. Otherwise, the situation will get worse and employers will face even more staff shortages.”