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News : UK Economy Last Updated: Oct 6, 2010 - 12:01:48 PM


UK faces the risk of a “double dip” in employment
By Finfacts Team
Oct 6, 2010 - 8:05:55 AM

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Source: Markit

The UK faces the risk of a “double dip” in employment, recruitment companies have warned in a report published today.

Recruitment of both permanent and temporary staff continued to grow last month but at a slower rate, according to a survey of 400 agencies by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and the Big 4 accounting firm KPMG

Further easing in growth of staff appointments... Permanent staff placements and temporary/contract staff billings both rose at weaker rates in September. The latest increase in permanent appointments was the slowest for a year, while growth of temp billings eased to an eleven-month low.

...as vacancies rose at slower rate: Overall demand for staff increased again in September, but the rate of growth was the weakest since October 2009. Slower rises in both permanent and temporary vacancies were recorded.

Weaker trend in staff pay...Although permanent staff salaries continued to rise in September, the rate of inflation eased to a ten-month low. Temporary/contract staff hourly pay decreased marginally for the first time in nine months.

...as candidate availability showed signs of improvement: September data signalled a reduction in the availability of permanent staff for the fourth time in the past five months. However, the latest fall was only slight. The availability of temporary/contract staff rose at the fastest pace for three months.

Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said: "September’s Report on Jobs shows that the jobs market is starting to flatline and may herald a ‘double dip’ in employment. Whilst there is marginal growth, these figures are the worst we have seen for a year. The Government must do everything possible to avert the threat of increasing unemployment. This must include avoiding new regulation that could restrict businesses and jobs growth. How the Government decides to implement the Agency Workers Regulations will be its first major test in cutting red tape on business.

"Recent party conferences have underlined plans for welfare and benefits reform but this will take years to implement. Immediate priorities for Government must focus on encouraging private sector employers with incentives to take on staff and radically improving the support being offered to specific groups of jobseekers, such as those under 25. Tapping into the existing expertise of the private sector recruitment industry is a cost effective way in which the Government could start to make real headway in this area."

Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG added: "September has seen a further slowdown of the UK jobs market with permanent job appointments rising at the weakest rate for a year. As in previous months engineering, construction and executive staff have been most in demand, an indication of the continuing recovery in the private and manufacturing sector. This is in sharp contrast to the situation in the public sector where many organisations have started redundancy programmes or have at least imposed hiring freezes. For example, the sharp decline in the demand for healthcare professionals comes as a direct result of government cutbacks and efforts to reform the NHS and may be only a sign of things to come."

The report features original research data from Markit, collected via questionnaire from a panel of 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies.

Ambition, a finance industry recruiter, said vacancies in the London banking and finance sector had reached levels not seen since 2007. It said vacancies available to City workers were now 260% above those at the bottom of the jobs market in the first quarter of 2009. The growth was driven by fixed income and foreign exchange markets.

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