UK job vacancies grow for second consecutive month

The jobs market is continuing to show signs of improvement after permanent placements rose for the second month in a row, the latest figures have found.

The Report on Jobs by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG showed that both permanent staff placements and temporary contracts rose in September.

The index reading for the number of people placed in permanent positions in last month was 51.3 – on a scale where 50 indicates no change. In January, this figure was 24.7.

However, growth remained subdued compared with levels prior to the recession.

Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG, said: “The latest report brings more encouraging news for the UK jobs market. After declining for 16 months in a row, the number of people placed in permanent jobs has risen for the second consecutive month. This provides further evidence that the bottom of the economic cycle has been reached.

However, Brown warned the index was unlikely to improve dramatically with large-scale job losses in the public sector becoming “ever more likely as the government finally tackles the huge budget deficit”.

Growth in demand for staff was recorded in three broad categories. Positions in nursing/medical/care posted the strongest rise, while those in accounting or financial roles, and executive or professional positions registered expansions for the first time in 18 and 15 months respectively. The sharpest decline continued to be signalled for blue-collar workers.

Average starting salaries for people placed in permanent jobs fell in September. However, the rate of decline eased to 47.2 for the seventh straight month, compared with 39.7 in March.

Contract pay rates also declined to 44.6, an improvement compared with March 2009, which recorded a level of 39.4.

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