Ongoing candidate shortages slowed recruitment in October, study finds

Employees are still hesitant to switch roles and sectors, experts say, adding that jobseekers need to feel confident their skills are transferable

Recruitment activity slowed slightly last month as candidate shortages continue to hamper hiring.

The latest Report on Jobs, published by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that while hiring activity did continue to increase, the growth in both permanent staff appointments and temporary billings slowed to a six-month low in October.

This was largely attributed to one of the sharpest drops in overall candidate availability on record.

This fall was linked to a combination of high demand for staff, general labour shortages, fewer foreign workers and a hesitancy among workers to change roles, the report said.

“Employees are hesitant to switch roles and sectors, which could impact the bounce-back recruiters have experienced since the easing of pandemic restrictions,” said Claire Warnes, head of education, skills and productivity at KPMG UK.

As a result, both starting salaries and temporary staff wages increased at the quickest rate in 24 years as companies attempted to attract and secure staff.

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However, Warnes said boosting pay was not the answer to improving productivity. “Job seekers need to feel confident that the skills and qualifications they’ve gained in one sector are valued in another,” she said, calling on the government to invest more in skills and training.

Nor were increases in starting pay universally felt, noted Kate Shoesmith, deputy CEO of the REC. “Recruiters tell us that candidates in some sectors and regions have been able to secure a substantial pay rise, but many employers can't afford to offer this,” she said.

“As we move into the next stage of recovery, it's vital the government puts measures in place that will help companies to invest and grow, stimulate the UK's productivity and support the levers that help those furthest from the jobs market into work,” said Shoesmith.

Demand for permanent staff rose across all the sectors measured by the report, with hotels and catering seeing the steepest rise.

The nursing, medical and care sector saw the steepest rise in demand for temporary roles, followed again by the hotels and catering sector.