According to the latest IHS Markit/Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) “Report on Jobs”, published earlier this month, August 2018 saw a sharp rise in permanent job placements across the UK. But why? Which sector had the most vacancies? And is the bubble likely to burst anytime soon?

The state of play

The REC report states that the number of permanent placements in the UK increased “at the steepest rate for five months” in August, while growth in temporary billings softened. Further, it indicates that there was “robust” demand for staff during the period, with ongoing uncertainty around Brexit appearing to have little impact on staff appointments – for the time being at least. Starting salaries for permanent staff also rose, with some attributing this to the current low unemployment rate and a consequent drop in labour supply.

Which sectors are leading the charge?

Vacancies in the private sector rose particularly sharply in August, while the number of permanent public sector jobs available also increased, albeit to a lesser extent. The IT & Computing sector offered the most permanent jobs in the latest indication that the UK is moving inexorably towards a tech-based economy.

However, significant increases in demand were also seen “across all other sectors” except retail. Vacancies in retail “stagnated” in the latest blow to the sector, which is undergoing a protracted battle for survival in its traditional format as high-street operators continue to struggle. Temporary placements were also down in the retail sector, while the Blue Collar, Hotel and Catering sectors saw the sharpest increases in temp billings.

What’s next?

While these statistics make the overall UK job picture look relatively rosy, it remains to be seen how long increases in permanent vacancies will be sustained. With Brexit on the horizon, are we likely to see the headline figures change from good to bad? Will the number of permanent vacancies decline across all sectors as the UK adjusts to life outside the European Union?

According to REC Chief Executive Neil Carberry, “[H]ow long our labour market can defy gravity if the shape of our future trading arrangements with the EU remain unclear is the big question”. Carberry believes that forward-thinking firms are already putting contingency plans in place, but says that those who aren’t “will need to step up progress”.

Frontline Recruitment are experts in sourcing the best permanent and temporary staff. We help find employers workers who suit their specific needs, and always match job candidates with roles that fit their strengths and experience. If as a business owner you need advice on how to plan your recruitment strategy moving forward, or if you’re a prospective job candidate looking for a permanent post, call us today for a confidential consultation.