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December 2016 - Recruitment Survey

10 January 2017

Growth in permanent staff placements softens slightly...

Recruitment consultants signalled a further increase in permanent staff placements during December, though the rate of growth softened slightly from November’s nine-month peak.

...as temp billings rise at faster rate

At the same time, temp billings increased at a sharp and accelerated pace that was the fastest seen since April.

Softer decline in candidate availability

The availability of candidates continued to decline at the end of the year, albeit at the weakest rate in over three years. Temp staff availability fell at the quickest rate in four months, while the drop in permanent staff availability was the softest since October 2013 (but still sharp).

Sustained upward pressure on pay

Starting salaries for successful candidates placed in permanent jobs continued to increase in December. Though solid, the rate of growth was the slowest seen for five months. Meanwhile, temp pay rates increased at the fastest pace since May. 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 Staff Appointments Temp/Contract Billings Permanent Placements 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 50 = no change on previous month 50=no change on previous month 2007

Demand for staff softens slightly

Survey data for December signalled a further increase in demand for staff. This was highlighted by the Report on Jobs Vacancy Index remaining well above the neutral 50.0 level at 59.5 in December, albeit down from November’s nine-month high of 60.5.

Growth in both permanent placement vacancies and temporary/contract roles slowed from November. Nonetheless, demand for both types of staff remained marked overall.

Public & private sector vacancies

Demand for private sector staff remained strong in December. This was despite the rates of growth in both permanent and temporary job vacancies slowing to their weakest for four months.

Meanwhile, public sector job vacancies for permanent roles increased at the fastest rate for 21 months in December. Demand for short-term staff also increased at the end of the year, and at the fastest rate in three months.

Other vacancy indicators

Latest official data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicated that vacancies increased by 0.7% year-on-year in the three months to November. This was down from 2.2% in the three months to October, and the slowest rate of growth seen since the current sequence of expansion began in mid-2012.

Meanwhile, internet-based recruitment spending continued to fall on an annual basis in Q2 2016. The -7.2% year-on-year decline over the second quarter marked the third successive quarterly drop in expenditure.