Skills shortages still ‘not behind us’

Report on Jobs sees permanent placements continue to fall.

The latest Report on jobs from the REC and KPMG has recorded a further fall in permanent placements, but a rise in temp billings. Vacancy growth has improved for second month running and there has been the softest reduction in candidate supply for nearly two years.

“This is further proof of ongoing demand in the UK jobs market, coming on the back of our most recent Labour Market Tracker report which showed new job adverts at a 14-month high in February,” said Kate Shoesmith, REC deputy chief executive, “As hirers work out what variable economic forecasts might mean for their business and staff, it makes sense that we continue to see temp billings hold up so well. Temporary staffing ensures firms can continue to provide goods and services, and people can grow their careers – even when the economic outlook is unclear.”

Shoesmith also noted that demand for staff continued to expand across both the private and public sectors. The rising cost of living, plus difficulties attracting and securing suitably skilled staff are also driving increases in starting pay. She says it will be particularly important to watch for any early trends coming from this data on regional disparities in supply and demand in the labour market.

“What this latest Report on Jobs shows is serious labour and skills shortages are not behind us,” she said. “The economy stands to lose up to £39 billion in GDP every year from 2024 unless business and government act now. Many businesses are doing what they can but the Spring Budget is the ideal opportunity to find a way forward together. The Chancellor must put people issues first, with innovative and refreshed policies on skills and tackling economic inactivity, and from immigration to childcare.”

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