The latest Report on Jobs by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) showed a surge in recruitment activity in June, with the upturn in contractor and temporary placements among the sharpest in the history of the survey.
Temporary billings growth expanded at the fastest rate in almost 23 years – since December 1997. Improving business confidence as lockdown restrictions continually ease was attributed as the main reason for this growth.
However, while the number of temporary roles increased, the availability of candidates has fallen at the quickest rate on record.
According to the survey, recruiters said Brexit, pandemic-related uncertainty and the furlough scheme had “weighed on candidate numbers.”
But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for freelancers and contractors. The lack of available candidates has led to a rapid increase in temp rates of pay, with hourly charges increasing at the fastest pace since October 2004.
The south of England recorded the sharpest increase in temp billings in comparison to the other regions, with the biggest rise in blue-collar industries.
Commenting on the survey findings, Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said: “Recruiters are working flat out to fill roles across our economy. The jobs market is improving at the fastest pace we have ever seen, but it is still an unpredictable time.
“We can’t yet tell how much the ending of furlough and greater candidate confidence will help to meet this rising demand for staff. In some key shortage sectors like hospitality, food, driving and IT, more support is likely to be needed to avoid slowing the recovery.
“That means supporting transitions into growing sectors through unemployment support and new skills programmes, as well as making sure the new immigration system reacts to demand, as promised.”
Claire Warnes, Partner and Head of Education, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK, echoed Carberry’s concerns, adding: “We need action from businesses and government to reskill and upskill furloughed and prospective workers.”
She also made clear that a growing skills gap has the “potential to slow the UK’s economic recovery.”