Vintage style red telephone booths on rainy street in London

Key Points

• Renewed expansion in permanent staff appointments
• Rates of contraction in supply of permanent and temporary staff ease
• Temp pay growth moderates to 28-month low

Staff Appointments

Permanent placements rebound in October

Latest data pointed to a renewed expansion in permanent placements during October, following the first decline since May 2013 seen in the prior month. The rate of growth in London was solid overall, but still weaker than the average across the UK as a whole.

Temp billings growth accelerates

Temp billings in the capital increased at the start of Q4, continuing the trend observed throughout the past two-and-a-half years. Moreover, the pace of expansion quickened to a three-month high, and was broadly in line with the UK average.

Staff Availability

Supply of permanent staff falls at slowest pace in 18 months

For the twenty-ninth month in a row, permanent candidate availability fell in October. Although marked, the latest reduction was the weakest in a year-and-a-half. Moreover, it was less pronounced than the average across the UK for the first time since May.

Slower reduction in temp availability

The supply of temporary staff showed a similar trend to that for permanent workers, falling at a slower pace in October. The respective index posted the highest reading in three months, but still pointed to a sharp decline overall. Roughly 32% of panellists registered a drop in temp supply, almost three times the proportion that saw an increase.

Remuneration

Permanent salaries

Salaries awarded to permanent starters in the capital rose further in October, thereby marking a 29-month period of growth. The latest increase was little-changed since the end of Q3 and robust overall, with around 22% of panellists noting a rise during the month. That said, London still registered the weakest growth of all regions monitored.

Temporary/contract pay rates

Temp pay growth eased in October, as signalled by the respective index slipping to a 28-month low. The reading pointed to only a modest rise in wages- one that was by far the weakest among the four English regions. Just 8% of monitored firms noted an increase since September, while the vast majority (87%) reported no change.

Regional comparisons

Staff appointments

The amount of staff placed in permanent positions across the UK rose further in October. Growth quickened to a four-month high, having eased to a two-and-a-half-year low at the end of Q3. The respective indexes for all four regions ticked upwards, with the rate of expansion in the midlands that fastest since May 2014. Similarly, temp billings growth accelerated in October. The latest rise was the thirteenth in consecutive months, albeit subdued compared with the average over that sequence. Sharper expansions were seen in three of the four English regions with exception being in the north.

Candidate availability

The availability of permanent staff fell for the thirteenth month in a row during October. The rate of contraction eased across the UK as a whole, reflective of slower declines in all surveyed regions apart from the north. October data pointed to another steep reduction in temp supply across the UK. Sharp declines were evident in each of the monitored regions, with the quickest drop registered in the Midlands.

Pay pressures

Permanent salaries increased again in October, continuing the trend observed throughout the past three-and-a-half years. The rate of growth was marked in all four UK regions, with the Midlands seeing the strongest rise for the sixth month running. Temp wage inflation was little-changed from September’s 18-month low at the start of Q4, albeit still robust overall. The sharpest rise came in the Midlands, followed by the south.