Hiring jumps in September after reopening of economy

The recovery in the jobs market accelerated in September as employers hired more staff following the reopening of parts of the economy, according to figures.

The latest KPMG and REC report on jobs found there was an increase in the number of people placed in permanent and temporary jobs.

The monthly figures, collected between September 11 and 24, revealed a reading of 56 on its permanent placement index, up from 50.9 the previous month.

Any reading above 50 represents growth.

The report revealed that hiring for permanent roles grew at the fastest rate since October 2018 as confidence grew among firms.

Meanwhile, the report’s temporary billing index also increased to 56 as firms reported that the reopening of the economy and the restarting of projects resulted in more temporary roles.

Both indices continued to see a contraction in hiring in London, while all other areas of the UK reported growth.

The figures also revealed that the umber of job candidates available “continued to rise at a substantial pace in September”, linked to ongoing redundancies.

James Stewart, vice chairman at KPMG, said: “While it’s encouraging to see a further recovery in hiring activity and that growth in permanent staff appointments was the strongest for almost two years, it’s concerning to see another rapid rise in total candidate availability.

“With increasing unease over what will happen in the coming months with the pandemic, Brexit and with the end of the furlough scheme in sight, the uncertainty for UK business is not going to dissipate any time soon.

“The Government has got challenging times ahead to continue to offer adequate support to business, opportunities for jobsseekers to upskill while helping instil confidence in the UK workforce.”

The figures also revealed that starting salaries continued to fall “solidly” in the month, with the rate of decline accelerating from August.

Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederations (REC), said: “Growing permanent placements and temporary billings in September confirm the positive trend recruiters around the country have been reporting to the REC.

“Given the scale of falls in demand during the lockdown, we would expect a return to positive territory at this stage as demand for staff recovers, but it is great to see it happen.

“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 to find them.”