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May REC Job Report: 'The jobs market is still creating opportunities for those looking for work'

Posted on 19/06/2019 by Krishna Patel

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The May REC report, outlining findings on the labour market from the previous month, is out! 

Key findings:

  • Temp wages increased at the quickest pace for six months
  • Modest decline in permanent staff placements
  • Demand for staff rises but at a subdued pace

Placement rates and staff demand:

Whilst the number of permanent placements fell at a faster rate than April, temp billings saw a slight increase in growth. Hiring activity seems to have weakened due to uncertainty and a generally lower demand for staff than early 2019. ‘Recruitment agencies signalled a slightly stronger rise in overall vacancies during May.’ Both temporary and permanent vacancies rose, albeit at a historical weaker rate.

The currently tight labour market and continuous Brexit-related uncertainty, like the previous few months, have been mentioned as influencing factors that have affected candidate availability during the month of May. Temporary and permanent staff supply continued to decline. This has led to starting salaries experiencing further growth, and temp wages expanded at the quickest pace in six months. ‘Panellists commonly stated that competition for scarce workers continued to place upward pressure on pay.’

Regional and sector distinctions:

The North of England opposed the general trend, experienced by the other regions, and registered a noteworthy increase in permanent placements. For temp billings, both London and the South of England saw expansion. ‘Vacancy growth continued to be largely driven by the private sector, according to the latest data.’ Demand in the private sector, for both temporary and permanent staff, saw accelerated growth. On the other hand, whilst the public sector did also see temp vacancies rise, demand continued to fall for permanent staff.

IT & Computing, followed by Engineering, displayed the strongest demand for permanent workers. Construction and Retail were the only two monitored sectors with lower demand than previously. In terms of demand for temporary workers; ‘Nursing/Medical/Care saw the sharpest increase’, Hotels & Catering too saw significant expansion, but Construction, Retail and Executive/Professional sectors saw decreases.

Commenting on the latest survey results, Neil Carberry, Recruitment & Employment Confederation chief executive, said:

“The jobs market is still creating opportunities for those looking for work. With vacancies rising and starting salaries going up sharply, it is worth people talking to recruiters about that next step in their career. Sectors like IT, engineering and healthcare are hiring strongly, while the North of England showed the best performance in terms of regions…”

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