Latest Markit report shows skills shortages continue
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Weak recruitment growth or shortage of candidates?

Weak recruitment growth or shortage of candidates?

Posted on 10th April 2018

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It’s not easy making sense of this.  Every month we get the Markit figures and for a long time now it’s been relentlessly upbeat. Then the rate of growth slows and the headline changes: this month it’s “Permanent staff appointments rise at the softest rate in a year.”

Dig a little deeper and we read, “permanent staff appointments increased strongly during the final month of the first quarter of the year (in Scotland).”  Of course, the figures can show both strong growth and also relative decline from even stronger growth previously, but what is really clear from the latest report – and something that I would have preferred them to concentrate on in the headline – is that the biggest concern just now is the shortage of candidates. This is the real issue just now.

To be fair, the report does make just that point, telling us in the first paragraph that, “Availabilty of both permanent and temporary staff continued to deteriorate, albeit to softer extents, while job vacancies continued to grow sharply. In turn, strong staff demand and a declining pool of available candidates led to elevated pay pressures.”

This is the nub of the matter.  For employers, it’s vital that they secure the people they need to develop and grow their businesses, but, increasingly, it’s costing them more to hire these people and it’s also getting harder to actually find them in the first place.  They do exist though and it’s incumbent on the recruitment industry to seize the opportunities offered by the current market by ensuring that we operate to the very highest standards and don’t just spray CVs around willy-nilly, hoping something will stick. 

Also, bear in mind that all the above refers to the economy as a whole.  When we come to look at IT recruitment, the market is probably even more difficult.  Once again, IT & Computing rank first for both perm and temp demand amongst the various sectors studied by Markit.  

Availability of temp staff generally worsened across the UK, but to a lesser extent in Scotland than in the rest of the country, while for perm staff the rate of contraction in Scotland was the second steepest of the UK regions. In other words, fewer candidates means a continuing upward pressure on wages (described by Markit as “another month of sharp growth in starting salaries”), especially in IT. All of which means that if you are looking for a career move, then this is a good time to take your CV to a friendly recruiter!

Nikola Kelly, MD, Be-IT

Posted in Recruitment News

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