January sees rise in job opportunities and salaries

There was an increase on the number of people who found jobs in January, as well as a rise in the number of employers on the lookout for skilled staff, according to the latest Report on Jobs, published today by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG.

The report, which draws on data provided by recruitment consultancies covering jobs advertised and vacancies filled, found that permanent appointments rose for the fourth consecutive month in January, while temporary billings increased for the sixth month running.

Significantly, the number of vacancies increased at the sharpest rate since April 2011, and the report also recorded a 16-month high in permanent salary growth. According to the REC, this salary growth was driven by increased difficulty in finding permanent staff.

According to the report, demand for permanent employees in the private sector rose at a strong rate in January, with growth at a 10-month high. However, private-sector demand for temporary staff dipped slightly for the first time in a year.

In the public sector, meanwhile, demand fell for both permanent and temporary staff, while the engineering/construction and IT/computing sectors saw the strongest demand for permanent staff. There was also growth of demand in the nursing/medical/care and accounting/financial sectors.

REC director of policy and professional services Tom Hadley said: “January saw the sharpest rise in starting salaries in well over a year after a nine-month trend of increases. The rise is caused by continued growth in permanent vacancies paired with a reduction in candidate availability. This is good news for workers, but also highlights the need to address the current ‘skills disconnect’ that presents a major barrier to growth in key sectors of our economy.

“Skills shortages in whole sectors like engineering and IT – and for particular roles like chefs, drivers and sales – are spurring competition for qualified staff. Employers are realising that to secure the talent they need, they have to offer more attractive salaries.”

Bernard Brown, a partner and head of susiness services at KPMG, said: “Amid the doom and gloom caused by predictions of slow growth, the hiring figures for January should give employers and employees plenty of reasons to be cheerful.

“It’s also clear that private-sector permanent positions are coming to the fore, with growth at a 10-month high. The hope must be that this is a trend that continues. If it does, predictions of further doom and gloom may yet prove to be extreme.”

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