UK employment recruiters struggle to meet rising demand

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Job vacancies rose at their fastest pace for more than 15 years last month, with recruiters struggling to meet soaring demand, particularly in construction and engineering, a survey of recruiters has found.

Starting salaries rose across the country as skills shortages emerged in a growing range of sectors, according to the monthly survey of 400 job agencies by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG, the advisory firm.

The higher pay has yet to feed through into official earnings data, but the Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast that the UK’s five-year squeeze on real wages will end this year.

The findings suggest that the UK’s recent strong employment growth is likely to continue, though there was a slight easing in the pace of permanent appointments.

There was also a drop in the number of people putting themselves on the jobs market. Bernard Brown, a KPMG partner, said many people preferred temporary roles, “suggesting that employees are adopting a ‘try before you buy’ mentality before committing to long-term roles”.

Tom Hadley, of the REC, said: “Britain’s building boom and major infrastructure projects have seen demand for permanent construction and engineering workers soar this month – however recruiters are struggling to source skilled people to satisfy this demand.”

Other areas where staff were in demand included customer services, marketing and sales, although Mr Hadley said there were skills shortages across all sectors.

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