Share with your friends

KPMG and REC, UK report on jobs

KPMG and REC, UK report on jobs

The Report is a comprehensive guide to the UK labour market, providing the first indication each month of labour market trends.


Also on


The KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs is compiled by IHS Markit from responses to questionnaires sent to a panel of around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies. The Report on Jobs is unique in providing the most comprehensive guide to the UK labour market, drawing on original survey data provided by recruitment consultancies and employers to provide the first indication each month of labour market trends.

Slower rise in staff appointments

Permanent placements and temporary billings both increased at softer rates in November. Though strong, the upturn in permanent staff appointments was the second-weakest since October 2017, while temp billings expanded at the joint-weakest rate for just over two years.

Vacancy growth edges down to 25-month low

Though elevated by historical standards, the overall rate of vacancy growth edged down to the least marked for just over two years in November. This was driven by a slightly softer increase in permanent job openings, as temp vacancies rose at a fractionally faster pace.

Candidate availability continues to tighten...

The overall availability of staff continued to decline sharply in November. This was despite the rate of reduction easing to the weakest since March, helped by softer falls in the supply of both permanent and temporary candidates.

...leading to further upward pressure on pay

Tight labour market conditions and greater competition for workers led to further marked rises in pay for both permanent and temporary staff. Notably, temporary wages increased at the quickest rate since July 2007. Permanent starting salaries meanwhile rose at one of the sharpest rates seen in the past three-and-a-half years.

Regional variation

Steep increases in permanent staff appointments were seen across three of the four monitored English regions, as the North of England registered only a modest rate of expansion. The upturn in temp billings was broad-based across all four monitored English regions. The Midlands saw by far the quickest rate of growth, while relatively modest expansions were registered elsewhere.

Sector variation

November data pointed to rising demand for both private and public sector staff, though growth remained sharper for the former. The strongest increase in vacancies was seen for temporary private sector staff, closely followed by permanent workers in this sector. In the public sector, short-term vacancies rose sharply, while demand for permanent staff expanded modestly.

IT & Computing led a broad-based expansion of demand for permanent workers during November, closely followed by Engineering. Nonetheless, marked increases in vacancies were also seen in the remaining eight monitored categories. All ten monitored temporary/contract staff categories noted increased demand during November. Blue Collar registered the steepest rise in vacancies, while the softest was seen for Executive/Professional.

Commenting on the latest results, James Stewart, Vice Chair at KPMG, said:

“Despite the uncertainty around Brexit, companies are still recruiting. It’s very much a candidates market at the moment and demand for workers is driving a sharp increase in starting salaries. It’s been getting harder and harder for firms to find good staff and with UK immigration policy likely to tighten, this trend isn’t going to change.

“Concerns about a no deal Brexit are putting a handbrake on the supply of candidates as the value of job security and stability shoot up people’s personal agendas. However, candidates who are prepared to take a chance and job hop can often bag a pay rise as a result. This is especially apparent in sectors like IT, engineering, hospitality and finance where quality candidates now come at a sizable premium.

“Such high and sustained levels of employment are relatively new territory for the UK and put us in an elite international group along with the US, Germany and Japan where greater automation is already the norm. Will we see a move to greater automation in the UK?”

Recruitment & Employment Confederation Chief Executive, Neil Carberry, said:

“Today’s report backs up what recruiters across the country are saying to us. High employment rates and a lack of willingness to change employer in this uncertain climate means fewer people are looking for jobs – despite rising pay and jobs being available.

“After a long run of strong performance, it seems that employers are getting more nervous as well. Although permanent and temporary placements continued to increase, the pace of growth has slowed since earlier in the autumn.

“Recruiters across the country are working hard to fill gaps in our labour market but in the run-up to Christmas, sectors like hospitality and warehousing are facing particular challenges as they ramp up to the festive season. More clarity on the future path of Brexit and immigration will underpin business and consumer confidence, ensuring the UK’s jobs performance remains strong.”

Notes to editors:
Regional reports available on request.


Paul Middleton
+44 (0) 2076 942180
+44 (0) 7387 257543

Gorki Duhra
REC Press Office
T: 0207 009 2192

IHS Markit
Annabel Fiddes
Principal Economist
+44 1491 461 010

Speed Communications
Kerry Grove
T: 0117 906 4517

© 2020 KPMG LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

For more detail about the structure of the KPMG global organization please visit

Connect with us


Want to do business with KPMG?


loading image Request for proposal