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UK Labour Market – a round up

In their recent “Report on Jobs”, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) report that demand for staff is on the rise, whilst candidate availability is declining. The report is a monthly publication produced by IHS Markit and sponsored by the REC, based on responses to surveys from a panel of 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies. Here are the highlights we think you will find of most interest:


Survey results show that vacancies are rising at a quicker pace, indicating the strongest upturn in demand for three months. According to latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), job vacancies rose by 5.7% on an annual basis in the three months to March, marking the slowest rate of growth since mid-2017..

Permanent vs temp/contract staff

The steepest rates of growth for permanent positions were registered across the Engineering and IT & Computing sectors. Retail was the only category to record lower demand for permanent workers, no doubt due to the high street closures we continue to see dominate the headlines.

Permanent salaries

Survey respondents signalled a further rise in average starting salaries for candidates placed into permanent roles. Anecdotal evidence linked increased salaries to candidate shortages and robust demand for staff.

Availability of permanent staff

The availability of candidates to fill permanent job roles continued to decline markedly during April across all five monitored UK regions, with the steepest decline seen in the South of England.

Other points of note:

  • UK average weekly earnings (based on data from the ONS) showed that annual growth of employee earnings including bonuses) held steady at +2.8% in the three months to February.
  • Key permanent staff skills on the excess supply list during April 2018 include Finance Directors, HR, IT, and Project Managers.