In London, Permanent Appointments Fall at Slower Rate

Michelle Remo, “Big 4″ observer
September 11, 2012 /

The number of staff placed in permanent positions across the capital fell for the seventh month running in August.

The rate of decline was solid, albeit the slowest since May. Permanent placements also fell at the UK level, but at slower pace compared to London.

August saw a fractional increase in billings from temporary staff in London, thereby ending a ninemonth sequence of reduction. Similarly, following eight straight months of decline, there was also a slight rise in temporary billings across the UK as a whole.

Iain Moffatt, London Partner at KPMG comments: “As expected, it was the temporary jobs market that benefited in August, as businesses attempted to make the most of the Olympics arriving in town. Despite the number of permanent staff being placed in jobs in the Capital still falling, it is positive that the rate of decline is slowing further.

“What we are seeing is recovery being led by private sector employers, albeit cautiously, as they reduce
starting salaries and look to recruit short-term or temporary staff, in order to manage their cost base.”

The Midlands and the South of England were the only monitored regions to post an expansion of permanent placements in August, with London and the North both recording declines. All four regions saw a rise in temporary billings, with by far the sharpest increase registered in the Midlands.

Data pointed to a broad-based reduction in demand for staff across London in August. Rates of decline in the number of vacancies for both permanent and temporary roles were solid, albeit slower than those recorded in July. In contrast, there were further increases in demand for permanent and temporary staff at the UK level.

Permanent starting salaries in London decreased for the second time in the past three months in August,
following a solid increase during the preceding month. The rate of decline was only marginal, but contrasted with slight inflation at the UK level nonetheless.

Temporary pay rates in London continued to decrease at solid pace during August, and one that was virtually unchanged since July. That extended the current spell of decline to five months. Across the UK as a whole there was a stagnation in hourly rates.

Only London posted a fall in permanent salaries in August, with the South of England registering the fastest increase. The Midlands recorded the steepest rise in temporary pay rates, while both London and the North of England saw hourly pay decrease.

Permanent candidate availability across the capital rose for the fourth time is as many months in August.
However, the rate of improvement slowed from July’s 33-month high, and was only moderate overall. The latest increase in permanent candidate numbers across the UK as a whole was also weaker than that recorded during the previous survey period.

Mirroring the trend recorded for permanent staff availability, the number of candidates able to fill temporary roles in London increased at considerably slower rate in August. The rate of improvement was the weakest since April, and broadly in line with that registered across the UK on average.

The North of England posted the strongest rise in permanent candidate numbers, with only the South seeing a fall. All four regions recorded increased temporary candidate availability, led by the North.

Moffatt concluded: “As we move out of the traditionally slower summer period, and with the feel good factor left by the Olympics, it is vital that recruitment in London starts to move in the right direction. It is still early days, but with temporary placements rising, the hope must be that employer confidence is returning and that they are looking to the long-term and recruiting for growth.”


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