The latest Report on Jobs from KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has found candidate availability, for both permanent and temporary roles, has risen for the first time since February 2021.
The report found the increase was due to relative improvement in confidence among job seekers as well as redundancies.
Starting pay increased for both permanent and temporary workers, which was frequently linked to skill shortages and cost of living pressures.
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While temporary roles grew, permanent placements continued to decrease. However, the rate of this decline has slowed slightly.
Total vacancies increased in March, although the rate of growth was lower than in February.
Martin Tiplady, managing director of HR consultancy Chameleon People Solutions, said he is surprised by the buoyancy of the job market in the current economic environment.
Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “It is quite surprising to see a jobs market, and vacancies in particular, even as buoyant as described when cost of living, post pandemic, nervousness about futures and pay issues combine to suggest it should be anything but.”
However, Tiplady warned that the growth of candidate availability is impeded by the number of candidates dropping out of recruitment processes.
He said: “I am aware of a recent long list in which six of nine invited candidates failed to show, some without so much as a word, and the subsequent shortlist of three reduced to one as two pulled out, without apology or explanation.
“This is not an isolated incident and is becoming an issue. So, whilst there may be more candidates, the amount of speculative application has become a significant distraction.”
Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC said labour shortages may have plateaued, but it will still be a problem for the foreseeable future.
Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “One of our big messages to firms is that the tightened labour market will be a feature of the British labour market in this decade. It is not a post-pandemic, post-Brexit phenomenon.”
He said if employers want to improve the situation they need to address candidates’ needs, such as training, childcare and transport.
He added: “The experience of recruiters over the last 10 years has been that recruitment is treated like any other procurement process, but the reality is that you’re communicating with people, not buying paperclips.
“The recruiters that are making a difference are hiring for potential. We need to step up and think deeper about how candidates interact with the recruiting process.”
The KPMG and REC UK Report on Jobs is compiled from responses to questionnaires sent to around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies. LINK