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KPMG/REC Jobs Outlook Report – September 2020

Todays North of England KPMG and REC Report on Jobs offers an encouraging prognosis, with the first rise in permanent roles since February being evident. The North is in an interesting position in terms of recruitment. On one hand it is broadly following the picture which is notable across the nation, on the other hand the region is demonstrating clear resilience in the face of experiencing some of the toughest coronavirus restrictions.


Key findings

  • We’ve seen the first increase in permanent vacancies since February. Companies are generally showing they are more inclined to hire again. Given that the North has been more notably affected by local coronavirus restrictions, it’s not unsurprising that this growth is slowest in our region.

  • Temporary jobs are increasingly being used to meet recruitment needs. September has shown the third month in a row that temps number have gone up and in the North there has been a slight increase in temp pay too. The use of temps is highest in the North.

  • There is a growing body of available candidates due to more redundancies as the furlough scheme comes to an end. However, the North is actually the ‘softest’ of the English regions in this regard. The scale of candidate availability is “historically sharp”.

  • Starting salaries for permanent employees are decreasing over time. Again though, the North is showing resilience here with the slowest falls in England.


The state of the jobs market in the North


There’s no escaping that the winding down of the furlough scheme was going to result in more candidates coming into the job market through redundancies. However, as has been the pattern for the last few months, the North is showing tremendous resilience in managing this candidate base.


With more permanent vacancies being made available, recruiters are successfully getting candidates into roles. It’s also important to note that the picture isn’t uniform across all sectors. There are more permanent vacancies in IT and computing, engineering and construction, for example.


Indeed, the increase in people being placed in new permanent jobs is described as “a sharp and accelerated rise”. This is good news.


What’s to come


With increasing coronavirus restrictions being brought in locally in the north, and in hotspots across the country, it is clear that flexibility is going to be invaluable going forwards. As such, we can expect employers to use temporary staff with more confidence.


However, the UK recruitment industry is adaptable and skilled at times like these. As Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC states:


“Across the country, the story varies between sectors, but today’s survey emphasises the fact that the labour market is always creating roles – our challenge is to help people find them. That’s where the UK’s world-leading recruitment sector comes in.”


Both employers and candidates need to find their feet in this unusual situation, knowing that there is both hope and potential. Employers can look to their resilience of the last few months to make sensible hiring decisions knowing that exceptional talent is currently highly available but hidden amongst a growing number of new, work ready candidates.



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