Despite having a reputation as being a ‘quiet’ month, August saw an increase in recruitment activity in the UK, with demand for staff picking up to the strongest for two-and-half years.
The latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC)/Deloitte and Touche Report on Jobs shows that permanent staff placements and temporary staff billings both rose at their fastest rates since the first quarter of 2001. The increased demand for staff also resulted in a slight rise in salaries awarded to people placed in permanent jobs for the first time in six months.
Using a scale on which anything over 50 denotes growth, the REC data shows that permanent placements jumped from 51.5 to 55.4 while temporary worker billings rose from 51.7 to 55.7, with the availability of staff reaching falling slightly as a result.
"The Report provides encouraging signs to suggest that the nascent economic recovery in the UK since the Iraq war is looking more sustainable," said Brett Walsh, Head of UK Human Capital at Deloitte & Touche.
"It is evident that an increased number of employers returned to the recruitment market in August to take advantage of good staff availability. Of particular importance, whilst demand from the public sector remained strong, a welcome strengthening in demand from the private sector resulted in a net increase in private sector employment for the first time since May 2001."
Particularly significant is the fact that actual private sector staffing levels rose marginally in August for the first time since May 2001. The increase in employment principally reflected a slight rise in service sector staffing levels for the first time in almost two years, whilst manufacturing sector employment fell at the slowest rate since January 2001.