Staff demand on the increase as appointments hit a two-year high

The growth of staff appointments hit a two-and-a-half year high in
September, the latest research reveals.

According to the monthly Report on Jobs, the number of people placed in
permanent jobs by recruitment consultancies rose for the fourth successive
month in September, as did the average weekly billings received from the
employment of temporary and contract staff. In both cases, the rate of growth
was the strongest since February 2001.

The report for the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and Deloitte
reveals that rising workloads and improved business confidence were the main
factors underlying the strengthening demand.

Demand rose markedly for all types of staff, with the exception of temporary
executive/professionals, which continued to register a marginal decline.

Further evidence of rising demand for staff was highlighted by a rise in
national press recruitment advertising for the second month in a row in August.

Commenting on the latest findings, Brett Walsh, head of UK human capital at
Deloitte, was optimistic that the study reflects an improvement in economic
prospects for UK employers.

"The latest Report on Jobs provides welcome news that employment growth
is strengthening as the economic recovery in the UK gathers pace and shows
signs of greater sustainability," he said.

"However, with the war for talent clearly picking up, firms are already
finding pockets of skill shortages which, if sustained, will add to recruitment
difficulties, and exert upward pressure on wages and salaries over the coming

The Report on Jobs, based on responses from 400 UK recruitment and
employment consultancies, also finds that strong demand for staff, coupled with
certain skills shortages, placed upward pressure on pay rates in September.

The rate of salary increases awarded to those in permanent jobs remained
modest, but was still the fastest since June 2002.

By Ben Willmott

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