Their monthly employment outlook found October data highlighted slower rises in both permanent staff placements and temporary/contract staff billings. In both cases, the rates of growth eased to fourteen-month lows.
Overall demand for staff was reported to have increased at the weakest rate for a year in October. Both permanent and temporary/contract staff vacancies rose at a slower pace.
Recruitment consultants signalled a rise in the availability of candidates to fill permanent vacancies for the first time in four months in October, albeit only slight. Temporary/contract staff availability increased at the fastest rate in seven months.
And average starting salaries awarded to successful candidates placed in permanent jobs rose again in October, with the rate of inflation accelerating to a three-month high. Temporary/contract staff pay increased marginally following a fall in September.
Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said: "The Report on Jobs for October shows that the UK jobs market is still growing. However, the rate of growth was the weakest for 14 months and vacancies remained on a downward trend, rising at the slowest pace for 12 months. This confirms that the private sector’s ability to compensate for planned job losses in the public sector hangs very much in the balance.
"These figures show that employer confidence remains fragile and that the double dip in employment we forecast last month remains a possibility. The role of job creation now rests solely with the private sector and the Government must do all it can to facilitate this process.
"We remain confident that the private sector will ultimately be able to offset public sector job losses. However, Government needs to do more to reduce taxation on business, remove unnecessary employment legislation and, most importantly, incentivise private- sector businesses to take on the one million young people not currently in work, education or training."
Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG, added: "The overall outlook for the UK job market deteriorated in October. Permanent appointments rose at the weakest rate for 14 months, growth of vacancies reached a one-year low and more permanent candidates are on the market looking for jobs. Several factors are contributing to this worrying trend: many public-sector organisations have now started redundancy programmes or at least imposed hiring freezes and at the moment the private sector is not creating new jobs in sufficient numbers to offset this public sector downturn. Furthermore, employers across all sectors are more wary about taking on new staff."