UK job vacancies falling at record speed

The number of job vacancies in the UK is falling at record speed, according to a comprehensive report out today.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs found that demand for staff fell in December by its largest amount since the survey began in 1997.

The report’s Vacancies Index – calculated from responses by 400 UK recruitment consultancies – was just 29.5 in December, where 50 indicates no change on the previous month. At its peak in 1997, the index was higher than 70.

Vacancies have now fallen in volume for seven consecutive months, according to the survey.

There was more gloom elsewhere in the survey. Permanent placements and temp billings also fell at record rates; average wages for new placements continued to fall; and demand for staff declined across all sectors except nursing/medical/care.

The only silver lining for HR professionals was a record rise in candidate availability.

Kevin Green, chief executive at the REC, said: “These figures are deeply worrying and show that the contraction in the labour market is now rapidly accelerating. The decline in both permanent and temporary appointments in December is the sharpest recorded since the survey began in 1997.”

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