N. England Permanent Staff Placements Fall for Second Successive Month

Kimberly Watson, Editor in Chief
August 08, 2012 /

The number of candidates placed in permanent positions in the North of England fell during July.

The pace of contraction was modest, and slowed from June. The fall in placements was slightly slower than the UK average. Temporary staff billings decreased in the North during July, extending the current period of contraction to three months.

The rate of decline was solid, but eased from June. That said, the reduction in temporary billings in the region was faster than seen at the UK level.

The South also saw a reduction in permanent staff appointments. Meanwhile, a sharp contraction was noted in London and no change was signalled in the Midlands.

There were decreases in temporary placements in London and the North, but growth was signalled in the South and in the Midlands. Across the UK
overall, a moderate contraction in temporary placements was registered.

Demand for permanent workers in the North increased slightly during July. However, the pace of increase was the slowest in 21 months and remained below the UK average. Meanwhile, demand for temporary workers rose at a solid pace, extending the current expansionary period to 35 successive months.

The availability of permanent staff in the North increased solidly in July. However, the pace of increase slowed from June. Although above its longrun average, the pace of increase in permanent candidate numbers was below the UK trend.

The availability of candidates for short-term positions in the North of England increased sharply in July. Moreover, the pace of growth was the fastest since February. Across the UK overall, staffing levels also
increased, but at a much slower pace than seen in the North.

Meanwhile, permanent candidate availability fell in the South but expanded in London and the Midlands. There were strong increases in the availability of temporary staff in London and the Midlands, in line
with that seen in the North. In contrast, the South recorded a decline.

Permanent staff salaries rose slightly in the North of England during July. That said, the pace of increase eased from June and was slower than that recorded for the wider UK. Permanent salaries have increased
in each of the past five months.

Temp staff pay rates fell for the third successive month in July. The pace of decline was only slight and broadly in line with that seen for the wider UK. According to respondents, temporary wage rates fell as clients attempted to reduce labour costs.

Permanent salaries increased in all surveyed regions during July, with the slowest inflation recorded in the North. In the UK, permanent salaries increased slightly. Temporary wages fell in London and the
North but rose in the South. The Midlands registered no change in pay rates for short-term staff.

Recruitment and Employment Confederation chief executive Kevin Green says: “The UK’s labour market deserves a gold medal for its incredible performance in the face of adversity so far this year. In the last few months, it has defied gravity as unemployment has fallen and jobs grew
even while the economy slipped back into recession.

“But this run might be coming to an end as this month’s data shows that nationwide permanent appointments have fallen for a second month and temporary employment has seen an eighth consecutive month of contraction. However, we have always said that we expected to see ups and downs in the employment figures rather than a continued sustained period of jobs growth.

“What must be emphasised, though, is that employers are still hiring. In fact, the number of vacancies has grown, but fragile confidence means they are taking longer to make decisions about appointments and the whole process of recruiting is slowing down. This slow-down is likely to be exacerbated further by thousands of school and university leavers joining the jobs market over the next month.

“On a positive note, there are some sectors that are defying this month’s decline and continuing to experience significant demand for staff, most notably engineering, computing and healthcare.”

Jonathan Hurst, Chairman of KPMG in the North, comments: “There is no pretending that the second consecutive month of decrease in the rate at which Northern employers are recruiting for permanent roles and the
third in the case of temporary roles is anything but bleak news.

“That said, it’s likely that July’s negative data is due in part to the traditionally quiet summer period for job hunters, perhaps exaggerated by an ‘Olympic effect’. The real story of recovery will probably only start to emerge in the autumn.”


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