Recruitment grows at weakest rate since August 2009

A double-dip trend in employment “remains a possibility”, with staff appointments in October increasing at their slowest rate for 14 months.

According to the latest Report on Jobs from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG, October saw slower rises in both permanent and temporary staff placements, with both rates of growth easing to 14-month lows. Growth in the number of vacancies was at a 12-month low, while the availability of permanent candidates rose for the first time in four months. Temp availability increased at its fastest pace since March.

Key permanent staff skills reported in short supply:1
Accounts/Financial: credit control, purchase ledger, collections
Engineering/Construction: general engineering
IT: digital marketing, net developers
Hotel/Catering: chefs
Secretarial/Clerical: PAs, secretaries
Other: sales, customer service
Key temp skills reported in short supply:1
Blue-collar: HGV drivers
Engineering/Construction: general engineering
IT: net developers, business analysts
Hotel/Catering: chefs
Secretarial/Clerical: receptionists, customer service
Source: REC/KPMG/Markit.
1. Recruitment consultants were invited to specify areas in which they have encountered skill shortages.

REC chief executive Kevin Green, who last month warned that the jobs market was “starting to flatline”, said: “These figures show that employer confidence remains fragile and that the double dip in employment we forecast last month remains a possibility. The role of job creation now rests solely with the private sector and the Government must do all it can to facilitate this process.”

Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG, said that the overall outlook for the UK job market had deteriorated in October: “Several factors are contributing to this worrying trend; many public sector organisations have now started redundancy programmes or at least imposed hiring freezes and at the moment the private sector is not creating new jobs in sufficient numbers to offset this public sector downturn. Further, employers across all sectors are more wary about taking on new staff.”

Professional staff continued to record the strongest growth, along with engineering and construction, and hotels and catering; while the blue-collar, secretarial and health sectors registered the slowest growth.

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