The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) recently published on its website a summary of its Report on Jobs, in partnership with KPMFG. The report brings together survey data from leading UK recruitment firms to create the most detailed view of the nation's current jobs market.
One of the key takeaways was continuing signs of hiring growth, with significant increases in both temporary and permanent contracts. According to data taken from March, permanent placements continued from February's positive pace; and temporary appointments were only slightly less than the previous five-year high.
Another crucial finding was the fastest rate of salary increases for six months, with average starting salaries for permanent roles gathering pace to reach their highest since September 2014. Meanwhile, contractor hourly pay rose "at a robust pace."
In addition to this, analysts discovered that demand for staff continued to grow, reaching a five-month peak in March this year; however, there is still a talent shortage, as the numbers of staff able to fulfil the advertised jobs fell again last month.
In terms of regional comparison, all four areas of the country witnessed an increase in permanent placements, but this was most prevalent in the Midlands and the South. The Midlands in particular had the sharpest increase in temporary billings.
The results can also be grouped into sectors, with demand for staff in the private sector remaining strong compared to that for public sector roles. The biggest overall increase, in fact, was for permanent positions within the private sector.
The permanent staff who received the greatest demand for their services were those working in Engineering and Accounting/Financial, closely followed by Executive/Professional. For temporary roles, it was Nursing/Medical Care workers who saw the biggest demand increase.
Commenting on the results, REC chief executive Kevin Green said that as well as increases in the number of people finding new jobs via a recruiter, it was also emboldening to see improvements in starting salaries.
"This suggests that labour market fluidity is returning," he explained. "Candidates are more confident about looking for work, and there are opportunities to earn more for those that do."
This means employers "need to realise that people are deciding to change jobs because they can earn more than in their current job and businesses are going to have to think hard about retaining scarce resources," he warned.