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Recruitment at its weakest in 19 months – CMD Recruitment

The number of job vacancies rose at their slowest pace in 18 months in September, according to new figures.

At the same time, starting salaries rose at their slowest rate in 15 months, according to a monthly report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and accounting giant KPMG.

Workers becoming more wary about changing jobs, coupled with employers’ caution in taking on new staff, are among the early signs of an economic downturn, warn economists.

Claire Warnes, head of education, skills and productivity at KPMG UK, said: “The UK jobs market remained tight in September, with candidate shortages impacting recruiters’ abilities to fill jobs.

“Deepening economic uncertainty has also meant that workers are choosing to stay put in current roles, rather than apply for new roles, leading to a moderation in the overall rate of vacancy growth.

“Some employers, even those who anticipate that the recession may be short, are taking steps now to contain costs, including hiring freezes.

“Those employers who continue to invest in their workforce, particularly up-skilling, may find they weather the recession better and will be in a stronger position to benefit from the upturn as and when it comes.”

Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said: “The challenges we see in today’s data reflects the underlying shortage of Labour the UK faces.

“With unemployment at record lows, pay continues to rise for both temporary and permanent workers starting new jobs, and activity levels across the recruitment and staffing industry remain high.

“While any economic slowdown this winter will affect the market, the extent of shortages mean that hiring will remain a focus for employers.

“The REC has shown that failing to address these issues could cost our economy massively in the years to come.

“While there is much that Government can do, like reforming the failed Apprenticeship Levy, a lot of the answers lie with hiring businesses. Firms need to work with skilled recruiters on offers that will maximise the skill base we have.

“There has never been a more important time for business leaders to put the people stuff first.”

Commenting on the findings of the survey, Dan Barfoot operations manager at CMD Recruitment, which has offices in Devizes, Melksham, Calne and Bath, said: “I think with the uncertainty around energy prices this is also making people think twice about changing roles, as with this candidate driven market and competition for talent that has gone on this year sometimes better the devil you know.

“We have certainly seen a decrease in advert response and enquiries, so I think for some businesses it’s just how long this will last and their need to hire.

“An advert doesn’t guarantee your role will be filled, and so if you need to look at your strategy and where you sit in the market then please do reach out to arrange a chat.”

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