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Political and economic uncertainty weighs on recruitment – report

Sluggish recruitment rates are being blamed on political and economic uncertainty, according to a new study.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) says that the number of staff placed in permanent jobs by employment agencies has fallen for five months in a row.

Temporary positions are expanding at the slowest rate in more than six years.

Permanent placements declined in London, the south of England and the Midlands, while the north of England registered an increase for the fifth month in a row.

Vacancies rose across the private sector during July, with demand increasing for permanent and temporary staff.


However, public sector permanent vacancies declined for the fifth month in a row, while short-term staff demand fell for the first time since January.

The steepest increase in demand for permanent staff was seen in IT & computing and the sectors seeing reduced vacancies were construction and retail.

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Temporary staff were in demand in seven of the 10 job categories covered by the survey, but the hotel and catering industry fared best.

Retail saw the steepest overall reduction in short-term vacancies, while demand also fell in executive/professional and construction.

Neil Carberry, REC’s chief executive, said: “Our flexible jobs market remains a key strength for the UK as we navigate an uncertain time.

“While we are seeing a concerning weaker trend in permanent placements bed in, the rate of change is slow, employment rates are high and starting salaries are growing.

“Businesses will be looking to politicians for a pragmatic way forward to help them turn this around – not just on Brexit, but on domestic policies too.”

James Stewart of KPMG, which helped with the study of 400 recruitment agencies, added: “Businesses continue to take a cautious approach to hiring as Brexit and economic uncertainty linger.”


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