Shortage of applicants lifts starting salaries

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Hybrid working is the way forward, say Talk Talk - Credit: FREEPHOTOS

Starting salaries look to be on the rise again.

According to the latest KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs, recruitment activity continued to rise rapidly across the UK at the end of the third quarter, fuelled by robust demand for staff and rising economic activity.

At the same time, a near-record fall in candidate availability drove substantial increases in starting pay. Notably, permanent starters’ salaries and temp wages both rose at the sharpest rates in 24 years of data collection. 

The report is compiled by IHS Markit from responses to questionnaires sent to a panel of around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies.

UK recruitment consultancies signalled a further sharp rise in hiring activity in September amid reports of increased activity at clients and improved market confidence. Permanent staff appointments expanded at a pace that was only slightly slower than August's all-time record, while temp billings growth edged down to a five-month low but remained marked. 

The upturn in recruitment coincided with further steep increases in demand for both permanent and temporary staff. Overall vacancies increased at one of the quickest rates on record, with growth of permanent staff demand remaining quicker than that seen for temp workers.

An imbalance of supply and demand for staff led to further upward pressure on rates of starting pay. Salaries awarded to new permanent joiners and wages awarded to temporary staff both increased at the fastest rates in 24 years of data collection.

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September survey data showed a further substantial drop in the availability of staff, with the rate of deterioration easing only slightly from August's all-time record. Recruiters indicated that greater demand for staff, a generally high employment rate, fewer EU workers and a lack of confidence among employees to switch roles due to the pandemic had all contributed to the latest decline in candidate numbers.

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