Key points

  • Permanent placements growth slows, but contract billings rise sharply
  • Steepest drop in candidate availability for 16 months
  • Demand for permanent and short-terms staff remains marked

Slowest increase in permanent placements for seven months
Growth in permanent staff placements slowed to it s weakest for seven months during April, but was nonetheless solid overall.  In contrast, contract billings increased at a sharp and accelerated pace that was the fastest seen in 2017 so far.

Sharper drop in candidate availability
The availability of permanent and contract candidates declines at sharper rates in April, with the former posting the quicker pace of reduction.  Notably, both categories saw the steepest deterioration in candidate availability for 16 months.

Strong growth in salaries sustained…
Although growth in permanent starting salaries edged down to a four-month low in April, it remained sharp overall and stronger than the series average.  Meanwhile, daily pay rates for short-term staff increased at the sharpest pace in 2017 so far.

…as demand for staff remains sharp
Vacancies continued to rise markedly in April for both permanent and contract staff.  This was despite growth in demand for both types of staff softening slightly since the previous month.

Staff appointments

Permanent placements increase at softer pace in April
The number of people placed into permanent job roles continued to rise in April.  Though solid overall, the rate of expansion weakened for the second month in a row and was the slowest seen since last September.  Agencies that reported highly permanent staff placements generally commented on strong demand for staff.  At the same time, a lack of suitably qualified candidates had reported dampened overall growth.  The Midlands saw the fastest rate of expansion, closely followed by Scotland.  Meanwhile, London saw the slowest increase in permanent placements in April.

Stronger rise in contract billings
April data signaled a further rise in billings from the employment of contract staff.  Notably, the rate of expansion accelerated to the sharpest in 2017 so far.  Panelists widely linked the latest rise in contract billings to robust demand for contract workers.  Growth was recorded across all regions, led by Scotland and London.  The weakest increase was registered in the South of England.


Demand for staff remains marked
Strong rates of demand growth were signaled for both permanent and contract workers in April, with the former once again posting the fastest increase.

Latest data pointed to divergent trends, with demand for staff rising sharply across the private sector, but declining across the public sector.  Demand for private sector permanent and contract staff rose sharply despite the rates of expansion easing to four and three month lows. respectively.  At the same time, vacancies for permanent public sector staff declined for the second month in a row, albeit slightly.  Demand for public sector contract workers meanwhile fell for the first time since January, though only slightly.

Staff availability

Availability of permanent staff
The availability of candidates for permanent roles declined at the quickest pace in 16 months during April.  Furthermore, around 38% of recruitment agencies reported lower candidate numbers, compared to 8% that noted an improvement.  All regions marked drops in permanent candidate availability at the start of Q2, with the South of England noting the fastest rate of reduction.

Availability of contract staff
Mirroring the trend for permanent candidate, the availability of contract staff declined at a sharper rate in April.  Moreover, the rate of decline was the fastest recorded since the end of 2015.  Marked falls in contract candidate availability were seen across all monitored regions, led by the South of England.


Permanent salaries
Starting salaries for successful permanent candidates continued to rise in April.  Although the rate of inflation weakened to its slowest in 2017 so far, it remained sharp overall and strong than the series average.  According to agencies, strong demand for staff and competition for skilled candidates were key factors driving salaries higher.  Salaries rose markedly across all regions in April, with the strongest rate of pay inflation seen in the South of England.

Contract pay rates
Rates of pay for contract workers increased further in April.  Moreover, the rate of inflation was the sharpest seen in the year-to-date.  Scotland saw by far the steepest increase in pay rates in the latest survey period.  Nonetheless, sharp rates of inflation were also seen across all English regions.


About Langley James

Langley James was founded in 1999 by James Toovey, a highly respected recruitment industry professional.  James wanted to provide something unique: a bespoke recruitment service which was founded on service excellence.  With offices in London and Manchester, we are now providing our recruitment services throughout the world and over the last 17 years have worked with some of the most respected companies in the world.

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