There has been an ‘unprecedented’ increase in demand for workers over the past month, with the number of vacancies reaching its highest in 24 years.
In June, as organisations returned to more normal business operations and market confidence improved, the number of permanent staff appointments grew at their quickest rate since 1997 and temporary placements reached a 23-year high.
Despite the boom in hiring activity, staffing shortages remained in many sectors including hospitality and IT, according to the latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs.
Candidate availability fell at its quickest rate since the REC began collecting this data in 1997. Increased hiring, Brexit, pandemic-related uncertainty and the furlough scheme all affected on candidate numbers, the report says.
Recruitment and skills
The shortage of candidates continued to push starting salaries up across all four English regions monitored by the survey.
REC chief executive Neil Carberry said: “Recruiters are working flat out to fill roles across our economy. The jobs market is improving at the fastest pace we have ever seen, but it is still an unpredictable time. We can’t yet tell how much the ending of furlough and greater candidate confidence will help to meet this rising demand for staff.”
Claire Warnes, partner and head of education, skills and productivity at KPMG UK, said: “For the fourth month running we’re seeing a decline in the availability of candidates to fill all these new roles and the most severe deterioration for 24 years. We need action from businesses and government to reskill and upskill furloughed and prospective workers now more than ever, as the increasing skills gap in the workforce has the potential to slow the UK’s economic recovery.”
Carberry suggested that candidates needed to be supported to transition into sectors facing skills shortages and urged the government to ensure that the new immigration system reacts to demand.
The permanent placement index score rose to 71.2 in June 2021 from 67.4 in May and 65.4 in April, led by increased activity in the Midlands. Any score over 50 represents a growth in the number of permanent job appointments on the previous month.
The score on the temporary billings index increased from 61.6 to 63.4 between May and June. The South of England recorded the sharpest increase in temp billings out of the four English regions monitored by the survey.
The sectors that saw the greatest increase in demand for permanent staff were IT and computing; hotel and catering; engineering; and accounting and finance.
“Blue collar” roles was the most in-demand category for temp workers in the latest survey period.