Report on Jobs - Volume of permanent placements continues to rise, but rate of growth eases

Report on Jobs - Volume of permanent placements

Permanent staff placements continued to rise in January, but the rate of expansion eased to a 20-month low.

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Key points

  • permanent and temporary appointments rise, but rate of growth slows 
  • vacancies increase at stronger pace
  • rate of decline in candidate availability moderates


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. 

Slower growth of staff appointments…

Permanent staff placements continued to rise in January, but the rate of expansion eased to a 20-month low. Temp billings growth moderated slightly to the least marked since October 2014.

...despite accelerated rise in demand for staff

January data pointed to a faster increase in demand for staff, with the overall level of job vacancies rising at the strongest rate in three months. Sharper growth of both permanent and temporary vacancies was recorded. 

Strong pay growth maintained

Average starting salaries for people placed in permanent jobs continued to rise at a marked pace in January, with the rate of growth quickening to a four-month high. Temp pay also increased further, but the latest rise was the weakest in 9 months.

Slower fall in candidate availability

The availability of staff to fill permanent job roles fell further during January. The rate of deterioration was marked, despite easing to the slowest for a year. Temporary/contract staff availability meanwhile fell at the weakest rate in 11 months.

Regional and sector variation

The Midlands registered the fastest increase in permanent placements in January, while the slowest expansion was indicated in London.

Temp billings rose fastest in the Midlands during January, while the weakest increase was signalled in the South.

Demand for staff remained considerably stronger in the private sector than the public sector during January. The strongest expansion was signalled for private sector permanent employees.

Nursing/Medical/Care was the most in-demand permanent staff category during January. Engineering took second place in the demand for staff ranking. The slowest rise was signalled for Hotel & Catering workers.

Demand rose for all monitored temporary/contract staff categories during January. The strongest rate of expansion was signalled for Nursing/Medical/Care workers. Executive/Professional registered the slowest growth.


Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, comments:   “They say good news comes in threes and it certainly seems to be the case for the UK economy.  The past month has seen a rise in employment, a jump in the number of jobs being created and a growing number of firms prepared to pay more to land the best staff.

“However, the good news is only half the story.  Starting salaries may be continuing to rise for the jobs being created today, but this is unsustainable over the long term.  Employers will reach a point where they cannot afford to keep throwing money at candidates, no matter how much their skills are in demand.  We are some way off this happening, but if does, candidates who are in demand today might find it harder to knock doors down, tomorrow.”

Kevin Green, REC chief executive, says:  “The number of vacancies for permanent and temporary jobs continues to increase rapidly as confident businesses expand their workforces.

“January saw more people secure a new permanent job via a recruiter than in December and the decline in the number of available candidates means competition for skilled workers is driving up pay. With record levels of employment and falling inflation, this means many workers should feel better off in 2015 than they did in 2014.

“It’s encouraging to see these positive trends aren’t focused just in the South East, with all regions reporting rises in people finding jobs and pay increases with the North and the Midlands both reporting robust growth.

“However, the rate of growth in placements is beginning to ease and while the pressure of skills shortages is benefitting new hires via more generous pay offers, in the medium and long term the situation poses real problems for sustainable business growth.

“It’s good to see the significant increase in permanent vacancies in the health and care sector this month. There are a variety of factors that could be contributing to this spike including February being a start date for doctors’ contracts, increased political pressure on trusts to use permanent rather than temporary staff and new guidance on safer staffing ratios. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few months as we know candidates to fill nursing and care jobs are already hard to find.”

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



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.


For further information, please contact:


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About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 12,000 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.9 billion in the year ended September 2014. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 162,000 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

T: 020 7009 2100

F: 0207 935 4112


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

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© 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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