That’s right. It’s not a typo: the April Report on Jobs has revealed that the growth in the number of candidates being placed in permanent jobs is the highest ever seen in the survey’s history.
The demand for new staff has improved to the greatest extent seen in 23 years.
The opening of the economy, and gradual reduction in lockdown measures, is allowing recruitment to get underway, starting to make up for lost time. Attention is now moving towards permanent placements, but it’s important to note that temporary placements are still remaining strong.
What appears evident is that confidence breeds confidence. As more gets back to normal, more vacancies are being advertised. Permanent vacancy growth has now actually exceeded that for temporary roles. This is always a sure sign of employer confidence.
This is matched with data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which lists 607,000 vacancies in the first quarter of this year. Given we hit 341,000 – a record low – at the height of the pandemic, we can see in real terms just how well the recovery is happening.
However, candidate supply is therefore starting to slightly put the brakes on things.
Candidate supply fell in April, at the sharpest rate since January 2020, just before the pandemic. There are lots of reasons why the candidate pool isn’t keeping pace with demand from pandemic uncertainty and furlough through to IR35 and Brexit.
Reduced candidate supply means that of course we’re seeing starting salaries and pay being pushed up, with both temp pay and permanent salaries seeing inflationary highs that they’ve not seen for well over a year.
It’s fair to say that both the public and the private sectors are affected by this. However, with the private sector pushing the greatest demand for new staff, it is of course most notable there.
We need to get candidates feeling confident and engaged in recruitment once more. But it goes beyond this – employers need to consider how they can fill their vacancies from the candidate pool available.
Central to this will be reskilling and upskilling, both in terms of their current employees but also those available from other sectors, or from the wider candidate pool.
Employers and recruitment specialists need to work together to create and entice the candidates needed for recovery to continue apace. But it’s undoubtedly a positive environment for us all… at last.