Recruiters report rise in the hiring of permanent staff for the first time in 2019

Latest KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs: North of England surveyed 100 recruitment and employment consultancies in Merseyside and across the North. Tony McDonough reports

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There was a rise in the number of permanent staff hired across the North in March, the report said


Recruitment firms in Merseyside and across the North of England are reporting the first rise in permanent staff hiring in 2019 during March.

The latest KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs: North of England surveyed 100 recruitment and employment consultancies in the North a rise in both the number of people finding permanent roles and a rise in starting salary.

Higher salaries are being driven by a shortage of suitable candidates and a number of recruiters commented that this was down to people being unwilling to move jobs amid ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

Moderate growth

However, the rate of growth was only moderate overall and softer than the historical average. According to panellists, demand for permanent workers stemmed from rising business requirements at clients.

Across the UK as a whole, permanent staff placements fell for the second time in three months. Though only moderate overall, the latest fall was the fastest since July 2016. The North of England was the only monitored English region to record a rise in permanent staff appointments.

March data pointed to a sharp and accelerated rise in billings received from the employment of temporary workers in the North of England. Notably, the rate of expansion was sharp overall and the fastest since October 2018.

KPMG office senior partner Euan West


Higher demand

Recruitment agencies generally linked growth to higher demand for short-term staff, with engineers and industrial workers mentioned in particular. At the national level, temp billings continued to rise, which extended the current run of expansion to nearly six years. 

As has been the case in each month since February 2013, permanent staff availability in the North of England deteriorated in March. Moreover, the rate of decline was sharp and slightly faster than in February. Anecdotal evidence suggested that the latest contraction in supply was driven by Brexit uncertainty.

Labour market

Euan West, office senior partner at KPMG in Liverpool, said: “The first increase in permanent hires of 2019 is encouraging, especially when viewed in the context of the North being the only English region to see an increase in permanent placings at all this month, and also alongside a backdrop of rapidly rising demand for new staff.

“Businesses need to be firing on all cylinders if they’re going to effectively respond to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

“A continued contraction of the region’s labour market could threaten this, so management teams must consider how best to attract talent in a competitive skills market where permanent staff availability continues to decline.”

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