Survey shows continuing rise in jobs in South West
THE demand for permanent staff has increased – but there's bigger growth in workers taking temporary jobs.
A survey of recruitment and employment consultancies in the South of England, including the South West, reveals a fifth month of job growth.
But many firms are taking on senior staff on temporary contracts, a trend seen as evidence of a lack of long-term confidence.
The stats are in the Report on Jobs: South of England, compiled by professional services firm KPMG, which has a Plymouth base at Marsh Mills, and financial information service Markit.
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It reveals that temporary appointments are at their strongest for 22 months, although permanent placements are also rising at a "solid pace", and for the fifth month running in December. There has also been a rise in the availability of people for temporary work, but a decline in those available for a permanent placement.
The survey also found "moderate increases in pay in both temporary and permanent roles.
The report, which excludes London, is designed to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date guide to labour market trends.
It says anecdotal evidence suggested the rise in short-term appointments was supported by stronger demand for staff.
Phil Cotton, regional chairman for KPMG, said: "Businesses across the South should take heart from these figures, which show a sustained shift in the region's job market towards growth.
"For five consecutive months employers have invested in their businesses and steadily expanded their workforce.
"Sadly, these figures show that caution still dominates businesses' recruitment strategy when it comes to senior staff.
"The spike in temporary billings seen this month was partly driven by employers making senior appointments on a contract basis.
"It seems while firms recognise they need high-calibre staff to take their business forward, they remain reluctant to invest in expensive permanent positions in a low growth economy.
"As we enter a new year we hope to see this trend for rising employment continue as firms seek out new opportunities both at home and abroad."
The report said the availability of candidates to fill permanent job vacancies in the region was reported to have fallen in December, the first decline since August.
Permanent staff availability was lower in all English regions, with London posting the sharpest decline, but the least marked deterioration was in the South.
Average starting salaries awarded to successful candidates placed in permanent positions increased for the sixth month running in December.
The rate of inflation accelerated since November and was slightly above the UK average.
Hourly rates of pay for staff in temporary/contract employment in the South continued to increase, but only at a moderate rate and the weakest since August.