KPMG has reported that job vacancies are increasing at the fastest rate since May 1998, signalling further good news for UK businesses and workers.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation's (REC) and KPMG's Report on Jobs published today uses survey data provided by a range of recruiters to take the temperature of the job market - reflecting both expansion and opportunity across the country.
Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG, said employer confidence continues to grow, with the thirst for new staff hitting a 15.5-year high in January.
"In a week showing improvements to UK construction figures and growth across the eurozone manufacturing industry, it shouldn't come as a surprise if other sectors begin to report peaks in performance," Brown said.
However, the road ahead may continue to be bumpy, he added, noting that this week saw global markets slide in response to weak data.
"It's unlikely to herald a crisis, but should serve to ensure employers remain vigilant to business threats," Brown claimed.
He said that employees, however, still seemed cautious, with January seeing another fall in the number of people actually looking for new jobs. Many on the job market seemed to prefer temporary positions as well - as if they were reluctant to commit longer term.
Tom Hadley, director of policy and professional services at REC, suggested the ongoing squeeze on consumer finances could be part of the reason.
"But this month's data shows there is hope for workers. All regions around the country are seeing permanent starting salaries and hourly pay rates continue to grow, driven by skills shortages across an ever-growing range of sectors," Hadley said.
"The report shows many of the latest in-demand roles are being sought by employers looking to invest in staff to build their businesses including customer services, marketing and sales roles, although there are skills shortages across all sectors."
He warned that firms will find their growth hamstrung if they cannot find the skilled workers they need. A better careers guidance network that helped raise awareness of opportunities might help solve this issue, Hadley added.
The report found that both permanent and temporary appointments across all sectors are continuing to grow, although more slowly. Vacancies as a whole have risen at their fastest pace since May 1998, although salaries for permanent roles have barely risen from December, which recorded a six-year high.
Permanent placements in both public and private sectors rose in all four monitored English regions, although the South saw the steepest increase. Temporary roles expanded in number in all four regions as well, but the strongest region for temporary roles was the North, with the Midlands in second place.
Engineering roles remained the most in-demand category for permanent and temporary staff.
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