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Employers continue to recruit in August at the same pace as July, according to REC and KPMG

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Permanent recruitment placements rose in August at a "modest pace" that was identical to that recorded in the previous month according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs.

The report, published this morning, shows similarly, growth of temporary staff billings held broadly steady since July.

Although demand for staff continued to rise in August, the latest increase in overall vacancies was the slowest in nine months. Weaker rates of expansion were signalled for both permanent and temporary vacancies. Permanent staff salaries increased only marginally and at the slowest pace for 22 months in August. Inflation of temporary staff hourly pay rates quickened to a three-month high, but remained weak compared with the survey's historical trend.

Recruiters indicated another rise in the availability of staff during August. Permanent candidate supply improved at the fastest pace since January 2010.

Kevin Green (pictured), chief executive of the REC, said: "The latest Report on Jobs from the REC and KPMG highlights the robustness of the UK jobs market. In the face of a slowing economy, falling consumer confidence and high inflation, private sector employers continue to hire staff. The numbers are lower than three months ago but placements continued to rise in August, which was the twenty-fifth consecutive month of growth. The figures also show that with a month to go before the introduction of new regulations covering agency workers that businesses continue to depend on and use this flexible resource.

"The UK jobs market is being incredibly resilient. Even with increasing job losses in the public sector and a new influx of school-leavers it is performing much better than many predicted. We are confident that this trend is set to continue and that the Agency Workers Regulations will not undermine the UK's flexible labour market given that our members and their clients seem well prepared for the impact of the AWR next month."

Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG added: "Although the jobs market has held up relatively well, it remains in the summer doldrums and, worryingly, there seem to be early signs of trends similar to those of 2008. Whether this is a blip or a return to a familiar and unwelcome pattern will emerge over the next few months.

"Permanent and temporary staff appointments rose again in August but only at the same relatively low rates seen last month. And whilst it's good that we are still seeing some growth in appointments, whether this can continue in the face of a decline in the rate of growth of vacancies remains to be seen. "Employers continue to take a cautious approach to hiring decisions

amid an uncertain economic climate. Whether this will persist as the summer holidays draw to a close is an open question. Much will depend on macro-economic factors and their effect on overall confidence, especially where permanent hiring decisions are concerned. With candidate availability continuing to grow - notably permanent staff availability has improved at the fastest pace since January 2010 - it's a buyers' market should employers choose to step up their recruitment in the autumn."