Key points

  • Stronger rise in permanent placements contrasts with softer contract billings growth
  • Starting salary inflation hits 31-month record amid growing candidate shortages
  • Growth of demand for staff edges down slightly but remains marked

Sharper increase in permanent placements…  
Recruitment consultants signaled a marked rise in permanent staff placements in January, with the rate of expansion the joint-steepest since April 2015.
In contrast, growth in contract billings softened to a ten-month low, but was sharp overall.

…supported by further marked increase in job vacancies
Overall demand for staff continued to rise sharply in January, despite growth of demand softening to a 13-month low. Notably, both permanent and contract staff vacancies continued to rise at historically marked rates.

Starting salary inflation quickens to 31-month record…
Starting salaries for successful permanent candidates increased at the fastest pace for over two-and-a-half years at the start of 2018. Meanwhile, growth in contract pay eased to the joint-weakest in ten months, but remained sharp overall.

…amid steep drop in candidate availability
The number of candidates available to fulfil permanent and contract roles continued to contract at historically sharp rates in January. This was despite rates of contraction softening slightly in both cases compared to December

Permanent placements expand at joint-quickest pace for 33 month
Latest data indicated a sharp and accelerated increase in the number of people placed into permanent roles in January. Permanent placements have now risen in each month for the past year-and-a-half, with the latest upturn the joint-quickest since April 2015 (on par with July 2017). Growth was widely linked to firmer demand for staff, while some panelists indicated that improved decision-making had also played a part in the latest rise in permanent staff appointments. Data broken down by region showed that the North of England saw the fastest increase in permanent placements, though rates of growth were also sharp in the other four monitored regions.

Growth in contract billings eases to ten-month low
Agencies’ billings from the employment of temporary and contract staff increased for the fifty-seventh month running in January. Although the rate of expansion softened to a ten month low, it remained sharp and slightly above the series average. A number of monitored recruitment consultancies suggested that new projects and stronger demand for short term workers had lifted temp billings in the latest survey period. The Midlands saw by far the quickest increase in contract billings, while growth was also sharp in the North and South of England and London. Meanwhile, Scotland registered a modest upturn following a reduction in December.


Staff vacancies rise at softer, but still marked, rate
Demand for staff continued to rise in January, with the Report on Jobs Vacancy Index posting well above the neutral 50.0 level at 61.5 at the start of 2018. However, this was down from 61.8 in December and the lowest reading for 13 months. Nonetheless, growth of demand for staff was still above the historical series average. A slightly softer rise in permanent staff vacancies contrasted with a stronger increase in demand for contract workers at the start of the year.

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.