· News

Job vacancies continue to grow in May but at a slower rate than previous months

Labour market conditions continued to improve in May, although growth of permanent placements eased for the second month running, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG.

The REC and KPMG Report on Jobs revealed a rise in permanent staff placements for the tenth consecutive month in May. The pace of expansion remained marked, despite moderating further from March's 12-year peak. Temporary staff billings also increased at a strong rate.

There was also a further improvement in demand for staff during May, according to the report. And recruitment consultancies indicated that growth of vacancies was strong, albeit marginally slower than in April.     

Permanent staff salaries also increased for the seventh month running in May. But growth eased from the 25-month high registered in April.

And permanent staff availability was reported to have deteriorated for the first time in over two years during May, albeit only marginally. The availability of short-term workers continued to rise at a moderate pace.
Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC, said: "The June report on jobs shows that job vacancies continue to grow but at a slower rate than previous months.

"On the upside, professional recruiters have identified a number of job categories - including accountants, HR professionals, software developers and chefs - where suitable candidates are in high demand. However, we remain concerned about the overall employment outlook as public-sector recruitment freezes start to bite.

"With fewer opportunities in the public sector and jobs growth in the private sector improving only very slowly, predictions of a jobless recovery are looking more likely. In this environment, there are real fears for the one million young people not in work or training who will find it increasing difficult to get on the jobs ladder. This month's jobs data further underlines the need for urgent action if we are to avoid a new ‘lost generation' of workers."

Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG, added: "The UK job market recovery continues albeit at a slower pace than in previous months. While demand for staff from the private sector remains strong in some areas, the figures suggest that hiring activity in the public sector has started to slow down. This doesn't come as a surprise since the new government has now begun to spell out where the axe will fall. Many public-sector employers will have imposed embargoes on recruitment at least until we get more details of further cuts in the emergency budget on 22 June."