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London hires more permanent staff as recruitment activity picks up across UK

Abigail Fenton
Engineers and blue collar workers are high in demand across the UK right now. Photo: Christopher Burns/Unsplash
Engineers and blue-collar workers are high in demand across the UK right now. Photo: Christopher Burns/Unsplash

London is hiring more permanent staff, with blue-collar and engineer roles high in demand, as recruitment across the country has picked up, research shows.

The latest monthly survey by KMPG and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) shows appointments for permanent staff rose for the first time in a year in December 2019. There was an increase in temp billings since November, but it was weak compared with previous years, the data shows.

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Permanent vacancies also rose in the Midlands and north of England, but declined across the rest of the country.

This is likely the result of higher business activity, anticipated IR35 legislation changes and an end to delays in hiring, the survey found. The IR35 legislation will come into effect from April and ensures that UK contractors pay the same tax and national insurance contributions as an equivalent employee would.

Eight of 10 sectors measured by the survey saw an increased demand for permanent workers, including blue-collar and engineering.

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Meanwhile, hotel and catering had the highest demand for temporary staff, which fell in sectors such as IT and computing and executive-level positions.

Vacancy growth overall was stuck at a near 10-year low, the report states, with retail in particular seeing a decrease in both temporary and permanent positions.

However, starting pay for both permanent and temporary workers rose in December. According to KMPG, this reflects a fall in candidate numbers as a result of continued Brexit uncertainty among other things.

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James Stewart, vice-chair at KPMG, said: “It would appear that following the clarity of the election outcome, the jobs market finally began to show signs of life with permanent placements rising for the first time in a year.

“However, growth was modest and coming off a historically low base so UK business will be hoping for quick government action to get the UK back on the path to growth including an investment in upskilling the workforce.

“Lingering uncertainty around the Brexit deal to be secured will continue to weigh on employers’ decision making around hiring and investment over the coming months, as well as job-seekers desires to seek new opportunities.”