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UK recruiters hit record permanent placement rate during summer 2021 

Date Posted: 12 October, 2021

The latest UK Report on Jobs from KPMG and REC has revealed that UK recruiters hit record-breaking permanent placement rates in August 2021. The survey of around 400 recruitment and employment consultants found the sharpest increase in permanent staff appointments on record, with similarly impressive increases in temporary placements.


As the country’s economy restarts following the coronavirus crisis, major labour and skills shortages have emerged across multiple industries. The hardest hit have been transport and logistics, manufacturing, healthcare and hospitality, with the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) estimating that there were approximately 1.6 million total vacancies at the end of August.


Demand for staff has continued rising ever since, while the availability of workers has fallen at an unprecedented rate. A cocktail of issues – including the pandemic, Brexit and the end of the government’s furlough scheme – has led to serious issues with labour supplies across the country.


This has triggered sharp increases in starting pay, with employers fighting it out for the best candidates in an ever-shrinking talent pool. In fact, the UK Report on Jobs stated that wages for newly placed permanent staff have shot up at the fastest rate in 24 years.


Recruiters “working around the clock” to fill vacancies


While the UK’s labour shortage is a daunting, complex crisis to overcome, the country’s recruitment sector appears to be rising to the challenge. Record increases in hiring activity and permanent places happened across all four English regions, with London leading the way. The slowest growth in terms of temporary placement was found in the north of England, although the region performed strongly when it came to permanent placements throughout August 2021.


In terms of sectors, IT and computing recorded the strongest growth in permanent candidate placement, followed by hospitality and retail.

In a recent press release, the REC’s Chief Executive Neil Carberry commented on the latest figures and warned that the expertise of recruiters could be invaluable in the years to come:


“In August, the number of staff available to start jobs fell at another new record rate, deepening the current labour shortage. Recruiters are working around the clock, placing more people into work than ever as these figures show. Switching the entire economy on over the summer has created a unique demand spike, and a short-term crisis.


“But it would be a mistake for businesses to think of this as only a short-term issue. A number of factors mean that the UK labour market will remain tight for several years to come. Business leaders should be looking now at how they will build their future workforces, in partnership with recruiters, including the skills and career path development.”


Facing a hiring challenge? Whether you have a skills shortage or need the right talent to support your company’s post-Covid recovery, we can help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Get in touch with our specialists at RGH today for expert recruitment support.