Fake News “UK” headlines do no-one any favours
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Fake News “UK” headlines do no-one any favours

Fake News “UK” headlines do no-one any favours

Posted on 9th May 2019

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Last month’s Markit figures for the recruitment industry show a marked difference between the UK as a whole and Scotland specifically. As reported in The Times, James Stewart, vice-chairman at KPMG, said, “The UK jobs market has seized up, with both employers and candidates waiting to see which direction Brexit is going to go in.”

While the KMPG/Markit figures do indeed state that for the “UK” there is a drop in perm employee growth (but still growth) and a rise in the increase in temp placements, this is most emphatically not the case in Scotland. A bit like the weather forecast, which seems to use the term UK to mean what they see from an office roof in London, it is simply misleading to use the term UK when this does not include Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.  In another context it might well be called ‘fake news.”

North of the border, the RBS/Markit report is headlined, “Permanent Placements growth hits Four Month High in April.”  In fact, the rate of growth is the strongest in 2019 thus far.  Moreover, the rate of growth of temp billings increased at the “softest pace since January 2018,” whereas in the “UK” this is reported as having “increased at a faster pace than in March.”

The problem is that the UK figure is simply reported, not just in The Times and KPMG’s own site but also on recruitment platforms like OnRec, as if it applies to the whole the country.  KPMG’s site notes that they have “four monitored English regions.”  An attempt to call the REC PR office to check this resulted in the phone ringing out and then going dead but we did get through to KPMG, who confirmed that the “UK” figures are, in fact, only for England. 

OK, minor rant over, now down to the serious stuff! 

In Scotland, and indeed England, IT is soaring, No 1 for both temp and perm roles (see table, from RBS Markit). The rate of growth is still very impressive, however, what is also the case is that the market for candidates is ultra-competitive.   Anyone with talent looking to move on and up can take their pick of two, three, four or more jobs.  We are seeing this on a daily basis in the Be-IT offices. 

April 2019 Markit report for Scotland table

We’re also seeing examples of what the “UK” report terms the “uncertain outlook,” where firms are holding off decisions on permanent staff and going for the safer, short-term option of taking on contractors. It occurs to me that if the UK government does not sort out Brexit soon, the looming threat that is IR35 being applied to the private sector means there is a distinct possibility that firms might struggle even to find the temp hires they need.  If there is one thing that all business, whether IT or elsewhere, need at the earliest possible date it is a clear path on Brexit. Given the current state of our politics, I think that not only will porcine creatures be flying regularly past my window before that happens, it’s also likely that hens will eating with their new teeth and rocking horse droppings are available to fertilise my garden… 

Gareth Biggerstaff, CEO, Be-IT

Posted in Opinion, Recruitment News


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