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Strong Increase in Recruitment Activity

The latest KPMG and REC ‘Report on Jobs’ indicates further recovery in hiring activity during September. Permanent staff appointments and Contract/Temporary billings have been showing positive trends over the last couple of months.

The report indicates similar trends to the recent ONS publication where vacancies are recovering, with a record quarterly increase in the recent period. Following a record low of 343,000 vacancies in April to June 2020, there has been an estimated quarterly increase of 144,000 to 488,000 vacancies in July to September 2020; however vacancies remain below the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels.

The key findings from September’s KPMG & REC REPORT indicate:

  • Hiring activity rises sharply
  • Permanent appointments rise at the fastest pace in two years
  • Contract/Temporary billings expand at the quickest rate since December 2018

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC said, “Growing permanent placements and contract/temporary billings confirm the positive trends recruiters around the country have been reporting to the REC. Give the scale of falls in demand during the lockdown, we would have expected a return to positive territory at this stage as demand for staff recovers. But it is great to see it happen.”

Other positive indicators came from the JPMorgan Global PMI survey in September. Manufacturing output increased in August for the second month running, following a five-month sequence of decline. China, the US, Germany, the UK, India, and Brazil were some of the larger industrial nations to register expansions of output during August.

Olya Borichevska, Global Economist at J.P.Morgan, said “The recovery in the global manufacturing sector gathered further pace in August, with rates of expansion in output and new orders the steepest since mid-2018. The upturn should strengthen further in the short term if lockdowns and other restrictions in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic are eased further as expected. Business optimism and the orders-to-inventory ratio also point to further near-term.”

Commenting on the report and the market outlook Martin Crapper, Managing Director at Redline Group said:

“The current pandemic has changed many aspects of HR: health and safety, furlough, redundancy – but perhaps the most altered by the current situation is recruitment. For many businesses, there was a pause in their recruiting activities while they evaluated short-term and medium-term impacts for their existing employees. Where recruitment activities continued, or when they resumed, there was a need to shift to more online interviewing, a trend that had been increasing, but COVID-19 accelerated those processes.”

“Many organisations are now considering new working practices, through forced work-from-home which will in the long-term open up wider talent pools as businesses consider more flexible locations”

“The emphasis towards home working might even lead to an increase in diverse talent coming into organisations in the future, as work-life balance, flexible working and family all factor heavily into career decisions especially for female candidates in the engineering and technology sector.”

The UK and European technology and engineering sectors have been very resilient.  Global semiconductor sales increased year-to-year in August for the seventh consecutive month, demonstrating the global market so far has remained largely insulated from ongoing global macroeconomic headwinds.

This trend highlighted by the KPMG & REC shows IT/Computing and Engineering ranked 1st and 2nd in permanent vacancy demand. The ‘War for Talent’ is very much still here with employers encountering shortages of Hardware Engineers, Systems Engineer, C# Developers and Software Engineers on a permanent and contract basis.   

If you are seeking a different, knowledge-led approach to talent acquisition, then please contact Redline Group on 01582 450054 or email


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