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Clare Burnett

Member Article

North of England staff demand 'robust' but not enough talent to fill roles

The number of staff placed in permanent positions across the North of England rose further in February, thereby stretching the current expansionary sequence to 22 months.

Despite being robust, the growth rate eased since January and was weaker than the UK average.

Regional data pointed to accelerated rises in London, the South and the Midlands. The sharpest expansion was recorded in the latter.

Recruitment consultants in the North reported worsening availability of permanent labour during February.

Candidate numbers have decreased in each of the past 25 months. Latest data highlighted a sharp drop in permanent candidate numbers in the UK that was faster than in January.

As has been observed in each month since July 2013, permanent candidate supply decreased in all four monitored regions. The quickest decline was noted in the Midlands.

Average permanent salaries in the North of England’s labour market rose further in February, marking a three-year sequence of growth.

Although sharp, the rate of wage inflation was the weakest since May 2014 and below the average seen across the UK as a whole.

Permanent salaries across the UK rose at a sharp rate that was unchanged from January’s four-month high.

Faster increases in the Midlands and the South contrasted with a slower rise in London.

Chris Hearld, Northern Chairman and Office Senior Partner at KPMG in Leeds, said: “Northern businesses appear to be easing off the accelerator to some degree when it comes to taking on new staff.

“While recruitment is still growing, the rate of new appointments eased in February.

“Time will tell whether employers are simply pausing for breath and concentrating on integrating new starters or if political and economic uncertainty in advance of May’s election is starting to delay recruitment decisions.” Kevin Green, REC CEO, said: “Recruiters are reporting talent shortages across the economy as businesses expand in response to increasing demand.

“This is a major challenge for employers, however those seeking work are feeling the benefit as competition for skilled staff drives up pay.

“The question now is about sustainability. This month’s report again highlights skill shortages in engineering and construction, which threaten to delay major infrastructure projects such as HS2 and new house-building initiatives.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Clare Burnett .

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