‘War for talent’ resumes as demand for staff rises

Oct 06 2003 by Brian Amble Print This Article

The labour market in the UK is picking up according to new figures, with recruitment

consultancies and employers reporting the fastest rate of growth in permanent and temporary staff placements since February 2001.

After an unusually buoyant August, the latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC)/Deloitte and Touche Report on Jobs reveals further robust growth in demand for staff.

Measured on a scale where any figure above 50 represents an expansion in demand, the index for permanent placements in September was 57.2, an increase of 1.8 on the August figure. The figure for temporary billings was similarly high, at 57.5.

Gareth Osborne, Managing Director at REC attributed the figures to growing confidence in the recruitment market and rising levels of private sector employment

This increase in demand for staff has resulted in a corresponding fall in supply, with salaries coming under upward pressure.

After a twenty-seven month period during which staff availability had improved, September’s figure for the availability of permanent staff of 50 was the first month in which availability has fallen. According to recruitment agencies, skills shortages are beginning to emerge in IT, nursing, receptionists and care workers. Temporary staff availability has also fallen.

Further evidence of rising demand for staff was highlighted by an increase in national press recruitment advertising for the second month in a row in August.

The rate of increase of salaries awarded to people placed in permanent jobs remained modest at at 52.6, but this the rate of increase is the fastest since June 2002. Meanwhile, the rate of increase in temporary staff hourly rates of pay was the fastest since August 2001.

"The survey provides welcome news that employment growth is strengthening as the economic recovery in the UK gathers pace and shows signs of greater sustainability, “said Brett Walsh of Deloitte and Touche.

"However, with the war for talent clearly picking up, firms are already finding pockets of skills shortages which, if sustained, will add to recruitment difficulties.”