December 2023 UK Report on Jobs
December 2023 UK Report on Jobs

Insights from the KPMG & REC December 2023 UK Report on Jobs

Recruitment intentions remained subdued as 2023 concluded

The latest KPMG and REC UK Report on Jobs, compiled by S&P Global, reveals that recruitment intentions remained subdued as 2023 concluded. The survey of around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies indicates a decline in both permanent placements and temp billings in December, albeit at softer rates than in November. The cautious stance among employers in the face of a weaker economic climate contributed to the decline in hiring activity. Despite a sharp rise in candidate availability, competition for skilled workers continued, leading to an increase in starting pay rates.

Hiring Activity and Market Variations

In December, permanent staff appointments and temp billings saw milder declines compared to the previous month, with muted demand for staff and recruitment freezes impacting hiring decisions. The report also highlighted a slightly stronger increase in starting pay, though still below historical trends. The availability of workers continued to rise sharply, attributed to redundancies and lower hiring activity. However, total vacancies fell for the third time in the past four months.


Insights and Forecasts

Since the last report in October, regional and sector variations were observed, with all four English regions noting a decline in permanent staff appointments. The public sector saw an increase in demand for permanent staff, while the private sector experienced a decrease. Neil Carberry, REC Chief Executive, noted a potential easing in the labour market's slowdown, with recruiters hopeful for an upturn in 2024. Justine Andrew, Partner at KPMG UK, acknowledged the muted end to the year and highlighted ongoing challenges in the labour market.

The report concludes with insights from Neil Carberry and Justine Andrew, emphasising the need for economic growth, skills reform, and regulatory changes to support businesses. Carberry stresses the importance of addressing NHS staffing needs in the context of the modern labour market. Andrew notes that businesses facing ongoing budget pressures are impacting both permanent job opportunities and temporary contracts.

The information presented in this blog is a summary of the KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs, compiled by S&P Global. The report is based on survey data from around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies. The original report provides in-depth insights into the UK labour market, including regional and sector variations, recruitment intentions, and the impact of candidate availability on hiring activity.

View the detailed analysis and full report.

Chris Wright
February 5, 2024
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