Job Vacancies Continue to Rise: fastest rate for 15 years

The monthly ‘Report on Jobs’ published today by The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG states that throughout the UK both permanent and temporary vacancies rose at the strongest rate in over 15 years, with overall demand for staff increasing at the fastest pace since July 1998.

However, the report also recorded that during November there had been a six-year high growth in permanent salaries, the strongest rate since November 2007.  London posted the strongest increase – the fastest in nearly three-and-a-half years – and the North the weakest.

The decline in the availability of candidates to fill both permanent and temporary/contract staff roles could account for the increase in salaries, as the ability to fill permanent roles showed the rate of decline to be the sharpest since July 2007, with temporary/contract staff availability falling at the fastest pace in nine years.

As in recent months the private sector demand for staff continued to show a much stronger trend than in the public sector for both permanent and short-term workers.


For the sixteenth consecutive month the Midlands continued to register the fastest growth in the UK, with permanent placements increasing at their sharpest pace since March 2010, and salaries alongside them. Higher demand, particularly for jobs in the engineering sector, was cited as a key contributory factor behind the growth in permanent places with the steep decline in staff availability continuing. The reduction in the availability of temporary staff also accelerated compared to October, substantially faster than that recorded across the rest of the UK.

Meanwhile in the North of England, permanent staff placements have also increased since October and are higher than the UK average; again there were sharp drops in both permanent and temporary candidate availability, with demand for permanent staff marking a seven-month sequence of expansion and at its strongest in 16 years. The report highlighted there were shortages of candidates for jobs in Engineering, IT and Computing and Blue Collar temporary workers.

The data for the South of England (excluding London) illustrated the demand for permanent staff was at its strongest since June 1998, with temporary billings increasing at its fastest rate since August and the demand or temporary staff at its strongest since July 2006. Again the supply of both permanent and temporary candidates continued to fall sharply. Salary growth was broadly in line with the UK-wide trend.

Data for London recorded during November showed a sharp and slightly accelerated increase in the number of permanent job vacancies, although this was still a sixth straight-monthly increase; demand for temporary staff also rose strongly, albeit at the slowest pace since June. Permanent starting salaries grew at the fastest rate in nearly three-and-a-half years, showing a sharp increase, and the sixth in as many months. London also saw the supply of candidates continue to fall sharply.

UK: Permanent Staff

Growth of demand was broad-based across all nine types of permanent staff monitored by the survey in November. As in October, the strongest rate of expansion was signalled for Engineering workers, closely followed by Nursing/Medical/Care.

UK: Temporary Staff

All nine categories of temporary/contract staff registered increased demand levels in November. The fastest rate of growth was indicated for Blue Collar workers, closely followed by Engineering employees. The slowest rise was signalled for Construction staff.

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


REC CEO, Kevin Green, commented: “We enter the New Year with job vacancies increasing at the fastest pace in 15 years. The fact that our figures show starting salary growth hitting a six year high, combined with continued skill and talent shortages, indicates that we can expect salaries to increase and job fluidity to accelerate into 2014.

“Report on Jobs show that all sectors, all regions and both the private and public sector are in growth, which is fantastic news for British businesses, the UK economy and people looking for work in 2014.”


Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, continued: “Six months ago – after almost five years of pain – most employers were wondering just how real the signs of recovery were. But people have short memories and, if the latest recruitment figures are anything to go by, they may well now be wondering what all the fuss was about. Business certainly seems to be more confident because, as 2013 draws to a close, organisations across the UK are maintaining their recruitment drive to the point that the rate of growth in vacancies has reached a 15-year-high.”

“Of course, it is never that simple. The opportunities may exist but employees don’t seem keen to take them, with the proportion of candidates making themselves available falling at the sharpest rate for six years. It may be that people are still worried about job security but it is more likely that we are seeing a return of the traditional winter slowdown in recruitment as staff are more focused on Christmas than careers. As a result employers are trying to tempt top talent to change jobs by offering more in the way of cash or incentives. It’s a tactic that may bring short-term success, but the risk of falsely inflating the jobs market must be considered. Left unchecked, it could put unnecessary and unsustainable pressure on businesses just at the time their cash flow problems are easing.”

Words by: Sally-Anne Rogers

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Mike Sandiford
Head of Partnerships
0207 193 9931

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