Job placements continue to rise, showing revival in labour market

The revival in the jobs market looks set to stay as the number of people being placed in permanent jobs continues to rise, new research has revealed.

The monthly Report on Jobs, by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and professional services firm KPMG, found that permanent staff appointments in April remained strong, despite easing on the previous month, where they grew at their fastest rate in nearly 13 years.

The findings, based on a jobs index where 50 equals no change, revealed that the number of people placed in permanent jobs by recruitment agencies rose for a ninth consecutive month in April. A reading of 63.2 was recorded, compared to 65.2 in March.

The picture was the same for candidates placed in temporary jobs, with the reading standing at 58.7 for April, compared to 60.9 for March and 57.9 for February.

Vacancies available to jobseekers also rose for the seventh straight month during April. For permanent staff, the index jumped to 61.8 in April, up from 60.9 in March, while temporary staff vacancies inched up from 57.4 to 57.5 – its highest level since January 2008.

The most sought-after candidates were those in the executive/professional categories, followed by IT and computing, and engineering and construction. Meanwhile, pay for both permanent and temporary staff continued to rise in April.

Kevin Green, REC chief executive, said the first test of the new government would be to nurture the “slowly improving but fragile jobs market”.

“The incoming government must address two immediate priorities: stimulating jobs growth and reducing expenditure without creating a public sector recession through shedding thousands of pounds. Private sector employers have used short-time work, sabbaticals and pay freezes as a means of reducing costs while retaining high-performing staff. Innovative staffing strategies will be equally crucial within the public sector.”

Bernard Brown, partner and head of services at KPMG, said: “The latest figures show that the UK jobs market is continuing on the road to recovery, albeit at a slower place than the previous month.

“While the UK’s gradual emergence from recession is starting to lead to better job prospects in the private sector, many public sector employers have finally woken up to the scale of the financial challenge that is coming their way.”

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