August figures show rise in demand for workers

Demand for short-term workers has seen its sharpest rise for almost 13 years, new figures reveal.

Statistics from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and the KPMG Report on Jobs show that agencies' billings from the employment of temporary or contract staff increased strongly last month, with the demand for short-term workers increasing at its sharpest rate since December 2000.

It shows that the number of staff placed in permanent roles increased at a good pace in August, although it was still slightly down from July, when there was a 40-month high. Driving the rise was the fastest increase in available permanent vacancies since June 2007; meanwhile, August also saw the rate of inflation of permanent staff salaries increase at its fastest pace for five-and-a-half years.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said: "August was an extraordinary month for the UK jobs market, with temp placements growth hitting a 15-year high. Our temporary worker index is the highest we have seen since 1998, the same summer Google was founded and France won the World Cup for the first time."

The rate of pay offered to temp workers continued to grow, however the figure was down on July, which saw a five-and-a-half year high.

As more temps are hired, the availability of short-term workers deteriorated at the sharpest rate in six years.

Regionally, there were increased numbers of permanent staff placements across all four areas.

The sharpest rise was the north, with London registering the slowest growth.

The north was also the region which saw the highest temp billings during the latest survey period, however there was growth across all regions.

As has been the trend so far, it was the private sector which drove the stronger trend in demand for staff when compared with the public sector.

Mr Green added: "There is more good news for all workers with pay rates for temps rising for the seventh consecutive month and starting salaries for permanent staff increasing at the highest rate in five-and-a-half years."

Copyright Press Association 2013