The lack of availability for temporary staff is proving to be a big hinderance on the growth potential of the region. Employers are cautious about their recruitment plans during this current economic climate opting to focus on short term instead of permanent hires.
Euan West, Office Senior Partner at KPMG in Leeds, said: “The contraction in hiring by Northern businesses is marginally less severe than the conditions seen in the Midlands and London, but nevertheless reflects a difficult time for employers across the region. While there will be some businesses that may be holding back, which could in time ease pressures in the market, we know that there is still appetite on the ground from businesses to make quality hires which is reflected by the sustained growth in vacancies.
“Clearly, those in a position to grow are struggling to find the right staff as a looming recession appears to be deterring candidates from making a move. So, if business leaders need to expand their output, they may need to focus on continuing to invest in their existing staff, upskilling employees and finding productivity gains from within their organisations.”
Staff appointments and vacancies
There was a slight improvement in September for the number of permanent staff placements however this has declined at the start of the fourth quarter of 2022. This reduction was the fastest since January 2021 and is now in line with the overall trend seen across the UK.
We also saw temp billings fall for the first time since the initial COVID-19 outbreak. Recruitment agencies in the North reported that falling demand and candidate shortages are the key reasons behind the decline.
Supply of permanent staff continues to decline – extending the current sequence of decline to almost two years. Temp staff supply also worsened albeit at a softer rate.
An increase in COVID infections coupled with quick update in high quality candidates attributed to the drop off in supply. We are also seeing first hand that candidates are reluctant to switch roles due to the uncertain economic climate.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that job vacancies across the UK fell again to 1.24 million, the third consecutive quarterly fall. However there is a record low of 0.9 unemployed people per vacancy.
8.99 million people are economically inactive, up 0.6% on last quarter. 80% of the economically inactive do not want a job. Record increase in economic inactivity due to long term health conditions is at its highest for at least 30 years at 2.49 million.
Leading think tanks such as the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) are calling on the government to extend the Restart Scheme, improve access to specialist health and worker related support and increased investment in skills to help offset the on-going candidate shortage problems.
Demand for skills
The skills in shortest supply for permanent and temporary are accounting and financial, blue collar (drivers, manufacturing, and warehouse), engineers IT, administration. It is important to note that majority of skills are experiencing some kind of shortage in the current climate but these have been highlighted as particularly struggling.
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