Report on jobs - Staff appointments growth remains strong, while salaries rise at fastest rate in six months

Report on jobs

March survey data highlighted further marked growth of recruitment activity across the UK

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Key points:

  • Further marked increases in permanent placements and temp billings
  • Salaries for permanent hires rise at sharpest rate in six months
  • Candidate availability tightens further


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. 

Staff placements continue to rise strongly…

March survey data highlighted further marked growth of recruitment activity across the UK. Permanent staff placements rose at a rate unchanged from February’s considerable pace, while temp billings growth was only slightly slower than the five-month high recorded in the preceding period.

...supported by robust demand for staff

The survey’s index of job vacancies rose to a five-month high in March, signalling strong demand for staff. Marked rates of expansion were indicated for both permanent and short-term workers.

Salary growth fastest in six months…

Average starting salaries for people placed in permanent job roles increased further in March. The latest increase was the strongest since last September. Hourly rates of pay for temporary/contract staff rose at a robust pace, albeit slightly slower than in February.

…amid falling candidate availability

The availability of staff to fill vacancies continued to decline in March. The latest drop in permanent candidate supply was the sharpest in four months, while temp availability deteriorated at the fastest pace since last October.

Regional and sector variation

All four monitored English regions saw rising permanent placements during March, with growth strongest in the Midlands and the South.

Midlands-based agencies recorded the fastest increase in temp billings during the latest survey period.

Private sector demand for staff remained stronger than that in the public sector during March. Private sector permanent vacancies registered the sharpest increase overall.

All monitored types of permanent staff registered higher levels of demand for their services in March. The most sought-after categories were Engineering and Accounting/Financial, marginally ahead of Executive/Professional.

Growth of demand was broad-based across all monitored temp categories during the latest survey period. The sharpest increase was signalled for Nursing/Medical/Care workers, with Blue Collar staff seeing the next-fastest rise.


Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, comments: “Recruiters are struggling with industry-wide skills shortages, as demand for talent continues to outstrip the number of candidates seeking work. This pervasive skills shortage could put the brakes on economic growth if it continues unabated.

“This tightening labour market is forcing up wage inflation as businesses bid for the best talent. Such a trend could cause a two-tier pay market, creating a significant divide between highly paid new starters and current employees receiving subdued pay increases. This dynamic will cause businesses problems in the long term as they struggle to keep hold of talented staff increasingly dissatisfied by their remuneration packages.”

Kevin Green, REC chief executive, says: “Almost a third of recruiters say that starting salaries have increased in comparison to last month, and we’ve seen another increase in the number of people that have found a new job via a recruiter.

“This suggests that labour market fluidity is returning - candidates are more confident about looking for work, and there are opportunities to earn more for those that do. Employers need to realise that people are deciding to change jobs because they can earn more than in their current job.

“Increases in starting salary offers are being driven by skills and talent shortages across the economy, and businesses are going to have to think hard about retaining scarce resource.

“We have acute shortages in the public sector, with recruiters reporting that teachers and healthcare workers are hard to find both for permanent and temporary vacancies. As politicians debate skills, education and immigration in the run up to the election, we hope they recognise the potential impact of this skills crisis, because a lack of workers to meet demand threatens the sustainability of our economic growth.”

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 media enquiries, please contact:


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Liz Banks / Alasdair Reynolds, REC Press Office

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Markit Economics (technical/data queries):

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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 the Recruitment & Employment Confederation

Dorset House, First Floor, 27-45 Stamford Street, London, SE1 9NT. Tel: 020 7009 2100 Website:

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) is the professional body for the UK’s £28.7 billion recruitment industry. The REC represents 3,349 corporate members who have branches across all regions of the UK. In addition, the REC represents 5,759 individual members within the Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP). All members must abide by a code of professional practice. Above all, the REC is committed to raising standards and highlighting excellence throughout the industry.

About Markit

Markit is a leading global diversified provider of financial information services. We provide products that enhance transparency, reduce risk and improve operational efficiency. Our customers include banks, hedge funds, asset managers, central banks, regulators, auditors, fund administrators and insurance companies. Founded in 2003, we employ over 3,500 people in 10 countries. Markit shares are listed on Nasdaq under the symbol MRKT. For more information, please see


© Copyright in the Report on Jobs, including the Report on Jobs survey data, is owned by Markit Economics Limited. Any unauthorised use, including but not limited to copying, distributing, transmitting or otherwise of any data appearing is not permitted without Markit’s prior consent. Markit shall not have any liability, duty or obligation for or relating to the content or information (“data”) contained herein, any errors, inaccuracies, omissions or delays in the data, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.  In no event shall Markit be liable for any special, incidental, or consequential damages, arising out of the use of the data. Markit is a registered trade mark of Markit Group Limited.

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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