12 October 2018
Starting salaries rise at fastest rate since April 2015, as candidate availability drops further

News from REC


Key points:

  • Starting salaries rise sharply amid steep reduction in candidate supply
  • Permanent placements expand at slightly weaker pace
  • Vacancy growth softens to near two-year low, but remains strong


The IHS Markit/REC Report on Jobs – published today – provides the most comprehensive guide to the UK labour market, drawing on original survey data provided by recruitment consultancies.

Permanent placements growth softens…

Permanent staff appointments continued to rise at the end of the third quarter, albeit at a softer pace. Nonetheless, growth remained sharp in the context of historical data. In contrast, temp billings expanded at a slightly quicker pace compared to August.
…as candidate availability drops further

Recruitment consultants reported continued difficulties regarding the availability of staff for both permanent and temporary roles. Although easing since August, the rate of deterioration in permanent staff availability remained historically sharp. Temp labour supply also fell sharply, with the latest drop the fastest for ten months.

Starting salary inflation reaches 41-month peak…

Starting salaries for people placed into permanent jobs increased at the quickest pace since April 2015 during September. Hourly rates of pay for temp staff also rose at a faster pace than in the preceding month.

…as demand for staff remains strong

September data pointed to a further rise in job vacancies for both permanent and temporary roles. The rate of growth in staff demand was sharp overall, albeit the weakest seen for nearly two years.

Regional variation

London registered the quickest increase in permanent placements of all four monitored English regions, while the weakest expansion was seen in the Midlands.

All four monitored English regions noted increases in temp billings. The strongest rise was seen in the Midlands, while the weakest expansion was registered in the South of England.

Sector variation

Private sector roles continued to register a stronger rise than public sector vacancies in the latest survey period.
Private sector temporary staff saw the fastest growth of demand overall, while the slowest was seen for permanent public sector workers.

IT & Computing remained the most in-demand category for permanent staff in September. Higher vacancies were also seen across the remaining nine sectors covered by the survey. Retail noted the softest increase in permanent staff vacancies.
Demand rose for all monitored categories of temporary/contract staff in September. Nursing/Medical/Care registered the steepest increase in demand, while the slowest growth was indicated for Construction workers.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive at the REC says:

“UK businesses are resilient, but they’re struggling to find the people they need to drive growth and opportunity. Recruiters’ specialist skills help to address this, but with Brexit looming a comprehensive mobility deal with the EU will be needed to underpin prosperity. Higher skills investment, driven by a reformed apprenticeship levy, will also be essential.

“An effective approach to post-Brexit immigration must acknowledge that there is unmet need for roles of all sorts – not just those filled by the very highest earners. Keeping deliveries going, patients being treated and goods on the shelves means an open approach to workers from elsewhere. Businesses understand the need for control – but this is not in conflict with openness to those who come to contribute.”

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