Report on Jobs - Vacancies rise at strong rate

Report on Jobs - Vacancies rise at strong rate

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs - published today - provides the most comprehensive guide to the UK labour market, drawing on original survey data provided by recruitment consultancies.

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Key points: 

  • demand for staff increases at fastest pace since April 1998
  • growth of staff appointments remains marked, despite easing
  • candidate shortages fuel strong pay growth

Growth of staff appointments eases but still marked…

Permanent placements growth remained strong in August, although eased from the five-month high recorded in July. Temp billings also rose at a marked pace, albeit the slowest since May.

...supported by fastest rise in vacancies for over 16 years

The number of available job vacancies rose further in August, with the rate of expansion the sharpest since April 1998. Both the private and public sectors saw increased demand, with the former recording the sharper growth. 

Strong pay growth...

Permanent staff salaries continued to rise at an elevated rate in August, with the latest increase only slightly slower than June’s survey-record. Temp pay also rose strongly, and at a faster pace than in July. 

...underpinned by tight candidate availability

The availability of staff to fill job vacancies fell further in August. Permanent candidates were in particularly short supply, with the latest decline in availability again steep albeit easing from July’s series-record.

Regional and sector variation

All four English regions monitored by the survey saw increased placements in August, with the South posting the fastest expansion.  The Midlands led a broad-based rise in temp billings during the latest survey period.

Demand for staff continued to rise at a considerably stronger rate in the private sector than in the public sector during the latest survey period. Demand rose for all nine categories of permanent staff monitored by the survey in August. Engineering workers saw the strongest expansion of vacancies, while Hotel & Catering roles registered the slowest growth.  Nursing/Medical/Care was the most sought-after category for temp workers in August, closely followed by Engineering. The slowest growth was signalled for Executive/Professional workers.


Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, comments: “Just when it seemed the UK’s economy had definitely turned a corner, a couple of warning shots have been fired across the bows of British business to suggest that everything is not quite ‘ship shape’. Jobs are still being offered, and are still sought after, but today’s figures show that permanent and temporary placements have eased in recent weeks. It may be down to holiday season, yet with these figures following the latest manufacturing output data which also revealed slower growth, it wouldn’t be surprising if the confidence expressed earlier in the year is reaching a peak.

“The problem is exacerbated by the fact that employers still cannot find staff with the right skill set. Their desperation to fill recruitment holes is leading to continued wage growth, which is creating a market that is both unsustainable and unrealistic. With vacancy growth reaching its highest since the survey began, I believe that the nervousness in the marketplace is more about the consequences of investing in the wrong people, than it is about spending money in an attempt to recruit the best talent. It’s a conundrum British business will have to solve quickly because if the job market stagnates the wider impact on performance will end up harming productivity.”

REC CEO Kevin Green said: “It’s more great news for people looking for work this month, as we see more people being placed into jobs across all regions and sectors including construction, IT and engineering. The jobs market is often criticised for being London-centric but our data shows that rates of growth for both permanent starting salaries and temp pay rates are faster in the South, Midlands and North this month. Recruiters tell us that the driver behind this increase is the competition to attract and retain the skilled people outside London. 

“While immigration has increased according to government figures, this clearly has had little impact on the jobs market. As skills shortages increase and employers struggle to find the people they need, politicians from all parties should focus on ensuring that we have a visa and immigration regime that supports UK businesses.”

Full reports and historical data from the Report on Jobs are available by subscription. 

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For further information, please contact:


Mike Petrook, KPMG Press Office

T: 020 7311 5271

M: 07917 384 576


KPMG Press Office : 020 7694 8773


Markit Economics (technical/data queries) 

Jack Kennedy, Senior Economist

T: 01491 461087



Note to Editors:

The Report on Jobs is a monthly publication produced by Markit on behalf of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation and KPMG.

The report features original survey data which provides cross-sector and pan-region analysis of the UK labour market, drawing on original survey data provided by recruitment consultancies. 

The Report features original research data from Markit, collected via questionnaire from a panel of 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies. In 2010/11, some 1,049,333 people were employed in either temporary or contract work through consultancies and 604,193 people were placed in permanent positions through consultancies. Data for the monthly survey were first collected in October 1997 and are collected at the end of each month, with respondents asked to specify the direction of change in a number of survey variables. 

All Index numbers are calculated from the percentages of respondents reporting an improvement, no change or decline. These indices vary between 0 and 100 with reading of exactly 50.0 signalling no change on the previous month. Readings above 50 signal an increase or improvement; readings below 50 signal a decline or deterioration. Reasons given by survey respondents for any changes are analysed to provide insight into the causes of movements in the indices and are also used to adjust for expected seasonal variations. 

Markit do not revise underlying survey data after first publication, but seasonal adjustment factors may be revised from time to time as appropriate which will affect the seasonally adjusted data series. Historical data relating to the underlying (unadjusted) numbers, first published seasonally adjusted series and subsequently revised data are available to subscribers from Markit. Please contact

A regional Report on Jobs series is now available comprising four regional reports tracking labour market trends across the Midlands, the North of England, the South of England and London. The reports are designed to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date guide to labour market trends and the data are directly comparable with the UK Report on Jobs.

About KPMG 

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

About Recruitment and Employment Confederation

15 Welbeck Street, London, W1G 9XT. Tel: 020 7009 2100.   Fax: 0207 935 4112 Website:

The REC is the professional body representing the UK’s £24.6 billion private recruitment and staffing industry with more than 8,000 recruitment agencies and 6,000 recruitment consultants in membership. There are more than 1 million temporary workers registered with UK agencies who are deployed in industry, commerce and the public services every day.

About Markit

Markit is a leading, global financial information services company with over 3,000 employees.  The company provides independent data, valuations and trade processing across all asset classes in order to enhance transparency, reduce risk and improve operational efficiency. Its client base includes the most significant institutional participants in the financial market place.  For more information, see

© Copyright in the Report on Jobs, including the Report on Jobs survey data, is owned by Markit Economics Limited. Distribution or storage including databasing by any means including, without limitation, electronic distribution is not permitted without the prior consent of Markit.

This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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