Renewed increase in permanent placements
December survey data revealed the first increase in permanent staff appointments since September, albeit one that was only slight. Recruiters indicated that the upturn was driven by increased market activity and greater confidence, partly due to recent vaccine news. Nonetheless, lingering uncertainty over the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and Brexit led to the strongest increase in temp billings for over two years as companies opted to take on short-term workers.
Overall vacancies increase after two months of decline
Total demand for workers improved for the first time since September, albeit only slightly. The upturn was predominantly driven by an increase in temporary vacancies, the sharpest for 18 months, as demand for permanent staff expanded only marginally
Tentative improvement in starting pay rates
UK recruitment consultancies signalled a tentative improvement in pay trends for both permanent and temporary workers in December. Starting salaries and temp wages both increased for the first time since March. That said, permanent pay rose only fractionally and the upturn in temp wages was mild overall
Candidate availability expands at slower, but still rapid, rate
Redundancies related to the pandemic and fears over current job security drove a further marked increase in the availability of both permanent and short-term staff in December. That said, the overall rate of expansion was the softest recorded since April