Key Points on the UK wide recruitment market

  • Permanent staff appointment increase at weakest pace for four months
  • Softer rise in permanent placements contracts with steeper increase in contractor assignments
  • Growth demand for staff picks up for the first time in nine months
  • Steeper decline overall in candidate availability leads to sharper rises in pay

Counter offers are now at pandemic levels,
Companies are recognising the cost of replacing staff especially if they are already below headcount and will go out of their way to try and keep them. If a candidate you are interviewing is currently in a role expect them to receive a counter offer.  At Langley James we cater for this and ensure the candidates we put forward are motivated to actually change their roles even if they are counter offered before we submit them.

Tom Hadley the REC Director of policy commented
“For employers, the challenge is to stay ahead of the competition to maintain and enhance your workforce. This is about more than just pay, it is about providing progression opportunities and a positive workplace culture. As recruitment gets harder the only solution for employers is to get better at attracting and retaining the right skills and staff.”

Permanent placements growth softens to four-month low
The number of people placed into permanent job roles continued to rise markedly in April. That said, the pace of expansion was the softest seen in 2018 so far. In contrast, growth of contractor roles picked up from March’s 13-month low.

Candidate availability continues to fall markedly
Candidate availability for both permanent and contractor roles declined further at the start of the second quarter. Furthermore, the rates of reduction quickened to three- and five-month records, respectively.

Demand for staff strengthens
Growth of overall job vacancies picked up to a three-month high in April. Permanent staff demand grew at a sharper pace compared to the previous month, while short-term staff vacancies expanded at a slightly softer (but still marked) pace.

Pay growth gathers pace
Starting salaries for permanent staff continued to rise sharply in April, with the rate of inflation picking up from March. Concurrently, rates of pay for contract/temporary staff rose to the greatest extent for two years

There was signalled marked rise in both permanent placements and Contractor/Temporary billings at the start of Q2.

Permanent placements growth edges down to four-month low…
Recruitment consultancies signalled a further rise in permanent staff placements during April, thereby stretching the current sequence of expansion to 21 months. Anecdotal evidence suggested that growth of placements was underpinned by a further substantial rise in demand for staff and greater job vacancies. Although sharp, the latest increase in placements was the slowest seen for four months. The Midlands registered the strongest rise in permanent staff appointments in April, while the weakest was seen in London.

…while temp billings expand at slightly quicker pace
After moderating to a 13-month low in March, growth of temporary billings quickened slightly in April and was sharp overall. However, the pace of expansion remained softer than those seen through the majority of 2017. Improved demand for contract/temporary staff was linked by respondents to the latest upturn in temp billings. Scotland continued to record the steepest rate of growth, while the North of England recorded the slowest.


Vacancies rise at quicker pace
Latest data indicated that demand for staff continued to increase at the start of the second quarter. At 61.4 in April, the Report on Jobs Vacancy Index rose from 61.1 in March to signal the strongest upturn in demand for three months. Vacancies continued to rise at a sharper pace for permanent roles compared to temporary ones, though rates of increase were steep in both cases.

Public & private sector vacancies
Recruitment consultancies indicated that private sector demand for staff continued to rise in April, with growth of both permanent and temporary vacancies picking up since March. Demand was also higher in the public sector, with steeper increases in vacancies signalled for both permanent and temporary staff. That said, rates of growth continued to lag behind those seen for private sector staff.

Other vacancy indicators
Overall, job vacancies rose by 5.7% on an annual basis in the three months to March, according to latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Although strong, this was down from a 7.1% rise in the previous period, to mark the slowest rate of growth since mid-2017. Latest available data signalled that internet-based recruitment spending fell by 7.8% year-on-year during the fourth quarter of 2017. This was slightly stronger than the 6.1% drop seen in the preceding quarter.

Staff availability

Availability of permanent staff
The availability of permanent staff continued to deteriorate in the opening month of 2018. The rate of decline was sharp, despite softening slightly since December, and remained much sharper than the long-run series trend. The steepest reduction in permanent staff supply was seen in the South of England, though rates of deterioration were nonetheless sharp in the other four monitored UK regions.

Availability of contract staff
Contract staff availability fell further in January. Despite easing to the least marked for 11 months, the pace of reduction remained sharp. contract staff availability was down in each of the five UK regions monitored by the survey, with the sharpest drop indicated in the Midlands.


Permanent salaries
January data signaled a sharp and accelerated rise in starting salaries for people placed into permanent job roles. Notably, the rate of salary inflation was the steepest recorded since June 2015. According to panelists, clients generally offered higher starting pay due to a combination of strong demand for staff and candidate shortages. All of the five monitored UK regions registered sharp increases in starting salaries, with the quickest rate of inflation seen in the Midlands.

Contract pay rates
Contract staff hourly pay rates continued to rise markedly in January, despite the rate of inflation easing to the joint-lowest in ten months (on par with October 2017). The Midlands saw the strongest increase in contract pay of all monitored UK regions, while Scotland recorded the weakest rate of growth.

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 Chester, we are now providing our recruitment services throughout the world and over the last 18 years have worked with some of the most respected companies.

During 2017 Langley James has reached some new highs with the opening of the new Chester Office, we recruited 6 new members of staff to our team and through all their hard work we managed to double our turn over.

To find out why so many companies turn to Langley James for support in fulfilling their IT recruitment needs, call and speak to one of our specialist consultants today on 0207 788 6600.