Job vacancies rise for first time since May 2008

The number of job vacancies has risen for the first time since May 2008, new data has revealed.

The Report on Jobs, by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG, out today, showed an increase in demand for permanent staff for the first time in 18 months. The vacancy index for October rose from 49.1 in September to 51.4, on a scale where 50 means no change. In June 2009, the reading stood at 39.3.

Demand for temporary staff rose for the second month running in October. At 52.0, up from 50.9 in September, the index signalled that the pace of growth was the sharpest for 17 months.

The number of job placements also rose for the third month in a row, with weaker declines in salaries, the data found. The placements index rose to 54.6, up from 51.3 in September, due to a higher demand for staff.

Average starting salaries awarded to successful candidates placed in permanent jobs continued to fall in October, in line with the trend seen throughout the past 13 months. The new index reading for permanent salaries was 49.3, compared to 47.2 last month.

Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG, said: “The UK jobs market looks healthier today than at any time in the past two years which is, of course, encouraging news.

“Sectors such as accounting and banking lead the recovery and we may well have reached the tipping point into growth, driven by returning confidence in the private sector.”

However, Brown warned the impact of the recession on the public sector jobs market was still to take its toll. “This will play out over the first 12 months of a new parliamentary term,” he said.

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