Permanent Candidates Decline at the Fastest Rate for 10 Years

Published: 20 March 2014

The availability of permanent staff continued to fall in February, with the rate of decline in availability accelerating to its sharpest for 10 years, according to the latest KPMG/Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) Report on Jobs.

Around a third (33.8%) of recruitment consultants surveyed reported a drop in candidate availability as against 16.8% who reported a rise. Although overall all four English regions reported lower candidate availability for permanent roles. The increased difficulty in finding candidates came as demand for permanent staff continued to grow, with the rate of increase in demand only slightly below January’s 15-year high.

In another sign of the strength of the permanent market, placements grew at their fastest rate since March 2010. Growth of permanent placements was strongest in the North of England, whilst surprisingly London posted the slowest (but still marked) increase.

Kevin Green, Chief Executive Officer at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), says: “This month’s figures show the second highest ever results in permanent placements since Report on Jobs began in 1997. The positive trend of rising vacancies continues and this is supported by our Jobs Outlook data on employers’ hiring intentions that shows businesses will be taking on more workers in 2014 as their confidence grows.”

“However the number of candidates available to fill vacancies continues to fall and this is becoming a business critical issue in highly skilled roles. Recruiters are struggling to source the managerial and technical skills that employers require and this will only get worse as the economy strengthens.”

The dilemma therefore is that whilst employer confidence increases and the desire for growth and subsequent hiring continues, there is a scarcity of high calibre candidates. Especially as the individual candidates confidence to move and their rising expectations regarding wage inflations continues to lag behind.

The result being that employers continue to be frustrated by the difficulty to make suitable and successful appointments. Whilst recruiters are required to work harder and much more creatively to source, identify and secure top calibre talent.

Berwick Partners (an Odgers Berndtson company) can help individuals and employers alike both on a sector and functional level, as well as on a local, regional, national and international basis.

Simon Walton is a Partner and Head of the Retail & Consumer Practice at Berwick Partners

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