Brexit loomed and jobs boomed, say recruiters

Two independent surveys of the UK jobs market have found that, despite Brexit, there was a surge in vacancies during January.

Illustration of an online employment application
One of the surveys - from jobs site CV-Library - described the market as "booming" with the number of advertised vacancies last month totalling almost 201,000, compared to 195,432 a year earlier.The 2.8% growth in vacancies over the year showed "that businesses have regained their confidence in the UK economy". Some sectors showed unprecedented growth, with vacancies in social care, IT, legal, design and telecoms all seeing double-digit percentage rises.

Despite Brexit, the UK job market is strong

Lee Biggins, chief executive of CV-Library, said, "Our data clearly shows that the looming Brexit deadline didn't slow businesses or candidates down during January."While it's typically a busy month for hiring, the significant year-on-year growth of both job vacancies and applications suggests that the UK job market is in a very healthy position."As such, it's imperative that organisations continue to make the most of this increased talent pool and double down on their hiring efforts throughout the rest of 2020."

UK salaries rise in key industries

CV-Library data also showed that salaries rose in key industries across the UK, including in property (9.8%), legal (8.5%), retail (8.4%), electronics (6.1%) and engineering (up 5.3%). “The influx in pay has been a growing trend for many months, as businesses attempt to pull out all the stops and attract more candidates to their vacancies," added Mr Biggins."However, this isn’t always a strategy that pays off. Instead, employers should focus on refining their entire hiring process in order to remain competitive."

Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) survey finds steep fall in applicants for UK jobs

A second study on Friday, from the  Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), also found demand for workers increased last month, although the number of applicants for jobs recorded a "steep" fall.Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said, "It's good to see that businesses have grown in confidence over the past two months and taken the opportunity to restart hiring."Permanent placements are up again, and demand for staff has risen at the quickest rate for 10 months. This is good news for employers, recruiters and candidates - all three can now get on with making the economy flourish in 2020."

KPMG: "there are promising signs the UK job market is on the up"

James Stewart of KPMG, which helped conduct the survey of 400 recruitment agencies, added, "Following the UK's exit from the EU, there are promising signs that the UK jobs market is finally on the up with the strongest rise in permanent places for over a year."However, with regulatory and trade negotiations all to play for, there is still a long way to go for a deal to be struck and businesses to have the clarity they need."Brexit is unchartered territory so the reality is the uncertainty will linger, but key investment decisions on hiring need to be made to build confidence and help get the UK back on the path to growth."

Read more news and views from David Sapsted

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