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4/15/2015 11:23:01 AM

REC/KPMG jobs report: March roundup

In March, one of the most positive pieces of information to come out of the KPMG/REC report on jobs was the news that almost every employer surveyed intended to either retain or increase the number of agency workers in the labour force. A staggering 98 percent of employers were planning to expand the workforce in the short term, while 99 percent were expecting to do the same in the medium term.

Here are the other key points from the March survey:
 
  • Over 90 percent of employers intended to either maintain or increase the number of permanent workers, with 92 percent doing so in the short term and 97 percent doing so in the medium term;
  • Employers anticipated a severe deficit in available permanent and agency technical workers;
  • 40 percent of employers believed that permanent workers actually earn less than temporary workers;
  • Nearly 40 percent of employers have no capacity at all, and would need to take on new staff if demand grew this year. This figure was just 27 percent in this month last year;
  • Almost three quarters (73 percent) of employers used agency workers in order to get access in the short term to key strategic skills.

In the short term

In terms of permanent recruitment, employers were asked ‘In the next 3 months, do you think that your organisation’s permanent workforce will increase or decrease?’

71 percent of employers (a net balance) stated that they would increase their permanent headcount within the next quarter. 79 percent of employers also stated they would increase the number of actual permanent employees. As a result, the quest for suitable candidates is expected to put some pressure on companies in the short term.

Relating to temporary recruitment, employers were asked ‘In the next 3 months, do you think that your organisation’s use of agency workers will increase or decrease?’

The vast majority of employers (98 percent) stated that they planned to hold or increase current levels of agency workers over the next quarter. This was a 2 percent increase on last month.
 

In the medium term

Relating to permanent recruitment, employers were asked ‘In the next 4–12 months, do you think that your organisation’s permanent workforce will increase or decrease?’

77 percent of employers (a net balance) planned to increase the volume of permanent employees in the medium term. Some recruitment activity could be created as a result of employers offloading employees back into the jobs market. So-called, ‘passive candidates’ (those interested in taking up a new role but not actively seeking employment) are preferred and, therefore, more persistently headhunted by recruiters.

Thinking about temporary recruitment, employers were asked ‘In the next 4–12 months, do you think that your organisation’s use of agency workers will increase or decrease?’

99 percent of recruiters planned to maintain or increase current levels of agency workers in the medium term so it temporary worker availability could be cause for concern in the year ahead.
 

Where are the skills shortages?

Employers were asked: ‘Where do you expect to see a shortage of workers this year?’

Survey respondents were unanimous in predicting a shortage of agency workers. What’s more, shortages are anticipated in the same sectors expecting a shortage of permanent workers.

24 percent of employers identified technical and engineering sectors as experiencing shortages, and 16 percent identified driving and distribution as problem areas. A shortage in in both permanent and temporary candidates could present a significant challenge for recruiters.
 

Unemployment

UK unemployment reduced by over 100,000 workers between November 2014 - January 2015, when compared with the previous three months. This was a reduction of 479,000 against the same time last year. Unemployment across all categories (age, gender and length of unemployment) also dropped against the previous three months. However, this figure did not include those who had been unemployed for up to six months, which actually increased by 7,000 (0.7 percent).

The youth unemployment rate remained high, at 16.2 percent. How did this compare with the rest of the world? The overall EU unemployment figure was 22.9 percent for January 2015 and the United States, recorded at 11.9 percent in February 2015.
 

Prospects

Consistent with previous months, demand for both permanent and agency engineering staff is expected to increase at a rapid rate. Demand for office workers and those in the tech sector is expected to persist and this is fast becoming a long term trend. However, demand for educational staff continues on its downward spiral.

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