Demand for UK professionals up in February but candidate numbers remain down

Published: 23 March 2015

Permanent appointments and requirements rose in February at the fastest rate of growth since October 2014, according to the Report on Jobs report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). Meanwhile, permanent personnel starting salaries continued to rise last month with the rate of growth unchanged from the marked pace recorded in January.

However the availability of skilled individuals to satisfy such demand and opportunities decreased further in February. As both permanent and also temporary candidate supplies deteriorated to a greater extent than in the previous month, with the former recording the sharper decline.

Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the REC, stated: “Recruiters are reporting talent shortages across the economy as businesses expand in response to increasing demand. This is a major challenge for employers, however those seeking work are feeling the benefit. A third of recruiters say that starting salaries for permanent jobs are increasing as competition for skilled staff drives up pay.”

“The question now is about sustainability. Skills shortages are threatening economic growth so politicians need to help businesses address this issue by equipping jobseekers with the skills that businesses require and ensuring employers can access the skilled workers they need from abroad.”

Kevin Green added: “This month’s report again highlights skill shortages in Engineering and Operations/Production, which threaten to delay major investment projects and initiatives. Candidates for Sales/Commercial and Marketing roles are now also becoming hard to secure.  Demand for these roles is a sign that businesses are responding to increasing consumer and business confidence.”

Ultimately therefore employers who want to successfully appoint the required talent to drive growth and take advantage of the current economic up-turn and rising confidence, will need to be pro-active and imaginative in their future recruitment campaigns.  Plus they will also need to have a strong, transparent and candid relationship with a leading recruiter in the specific functional area and/or sector.

Berwick Partners is a leading retained senior management recruitment firm. Through exceptional reach, resources and expertise we find talented leaders for senior management positions across the commercial, public and not-for-profit sectors. With offices across the UK, we are organised into specialist functional and sector practices in order to offer our clients deep expertise and market insight.

Simon Walton is a Partner and head of the Retail & Consumer practices at Berwick Partners 

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