Accessibility Links

Report on Jobs: January 2017

30/01/17 Adam Walker Director


Demand for staff in the UK touches 17-month high as placements see weaker growth, says REC

Highlights of January’s survey include:

•    Decline in candidate availability has led to further upward pressure on pay

•    Slower increases in both permanent and temporary billings

•    Demand for staff reaches 17-month high

•    Availability of permanent candidates drops at faster pace

The UK has seen an increase in demand for staff in January 2017. The levels have reached a 17-month high, according to the latest Report on Jobs article published on Wednesday 8th February.

The report showed that its Vacancy Index stood at 62.8 in the first month of 2017. This was up from the 59.8 seen in December 2016 and marks the highest reading since August 2015. The monthly publication, which is sponsored by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and produced by IHS Markit, also showed that the growth was across both permanent and contract/temporary roles.

The demand for engineering and technical jobs ranked second in the league table for permanent staff in January. Fir Temporary and Contractor roles, Accountancy and Finance jobs ranked fourth with engineering and technical ranking sixth.

The report highlighted that January saw a continued growth in both permanent and temporary placements, though overall at a slightly slower pace than recent times. While permanent placements eased to their slowest levels since September 2016, temporary placements eased following December's eight-month peak.

Meanwhile, the report also highlighted that the availability of candidates continues to tighten. Permanent staff availability, in particular, was reported to have fallen for the forty-fifth month in a row.

These declines, the report said are leading to pay pressures. While starting salaries for permanent roles registered a sustained increase, pay for temporary/contract staff increased for the forty-eighth month in January.

Commenting on the report, REC CEO Kevin Green said, "Employers are crying out for people to fill vacancies. Recruiters say that fewer candidates are available in all regions, and this is dampening jobs growth.”

"If businesses can't find the people they need they will outsource abroad, automate activity or shut up shop, resulting in fewer jobs available to UK nationals."

Green also said that finding staff could become more difficult amid Brexit. "The NHS is already in turmoil because it doesn't have enough staff and the government's decision to prioritise immigration control over the economy in their EU negotiations means that finding candidates will become yet more difficult in the future," he said.

These figures continue to highlight the challenges Redline Group had already identified in a recent survey “Reason for Role Declination” which was compiled in January 2017 citing the four most common reasons for permanent and contract job offer declinations. Analysis of over 500+ job and contract declined offers highlighted Salary/Rate as the primary reason for declination at 29%, with the top four reasons being:  Salary/Rate, Role and/or Company, Relocation, and finally Counter Offer.

Adam Walker, Redline Group Director comments: “These findings from the REC and the recent Redline survey ‘Reason for Role Declination’ continue to highlight the challenges high-tech businesses are experiencing in recruiting and retaining professional staff in specialist professional engineering jobs.”

He continued “Our role today is very much about assisting organisations to benchmark their current recruitment methods, advise, recommend and reinvigorate their strategies in order to attract the right candidates in the ‘the war for talent’. The current situation is not being helped by the lack of clarity with regards to any future Brexit agreement and the new visa requirements.”