Driving Growth

Things are on the up in the UK. Everywhere you look there are new statistics and commentators indicating not only that the worst recession since World War II is now over, but that growth is better than it has been in a long time, across a wide range of sectors.
So what effect is that having on the jobs sector and subsequently on recruiters? The short answer is: placement growth is accelerating; while a decline in the availability of candidates with the appropriate skills is pushing salaries higher ? at least as far as permanent jobs are concerned.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG report on jobs, published in May, showed that for permanent candidates, the latest fall in availability of people to fill roles was the sharpest since October 2004, while for temporary workers it was the steepest since December 2000.
Meanwhile, the growth of permanent salaries accelerated further in April, with the latest increase the most marked since July 2007. Temporary staff pay increased at a solid pace that was sharper than in the preceding month. There are some industries experiencing a shortage of candidates and pay rises but there are also some industries where a surplus is still pushing pay rates down.
Tom Hadley, director of policy and professional services at the REC, notes that an upturn in starting salaries has been one of the biggest recruitment trends of the last six months. ?This has largely been driven by the fact that we are in an increasingly candidate-driven market. As well as the REC/KPMG report on jobs data, the anecdotal feedback from REC members confirms the fact that employers are having to ?dig deeper? to attract the right candidates. For example, members of the REC?s Marketing, Media, Comms & Creative Industries sector group recently flagged the increasing use of ?golden hellos? (ie joining bonuses), which hadn?t been seen for many years.?
As pay trends continue to evolve, Hadley adds, one of the key areas in which recruiters can add value to clients is by providing updates on market trends and on what candidates are looking for; not only in terms of financial incentives, but also development opportunities and company culture.
Bernard Brown, a partner and head of business services at KPMG, says that recruiters and companies looking to hire the best talent ignore newer candidates to their own detriment: ?With employers focusing their attention on trying to win over talented people with proven skills and track records, there remains one unanswered question. We have growing numbers of new entrants to the marketplace looking for work and employers will ignore them at their peril. Not acknowledging what they have to offer continues the very real risk of losing a generation of talent- it makes no business sense, because without a blend of youth and experience the workplace will no longer reflect the marketplace.?