Record Decline in Demand for Staff


The latest Report on Jobs from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG highlights a further weakening of the UK job market during December.

Underlying another substantial fall in staff appointments was a further marked shrinkage in the number of job vacancies placed with recruitment agencies during December. Demand for both permanent and temporary staff fell at record rates and lower levels of vacancies were reported across all broad areas of employment - with the exception of Nursing/Medical/Care.

For the third month running, recruitment consultants reported declines in permanent and temporary staff pay during December. Anecdotal evidence suggested that rapidly rising levels of jobseekers had diluted candidates’ bargaining power.

The latest increase in the number of people looking for permanent and temporary jobs was the highest since the monthly Report on Jobs survey began in October 1997.

Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

“These figures are deeply worrying and show that the contraction in the labour market is now rapidly accelerating. The decline in both permanent and temporary appointments in December is the sharpest recorded since the survey began in 1997.”

Mike Stevens, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, added:

“These latest figures only serve to confirm the most pessimistic projections for the UK jobs market. They are also a lead indicator for a rapidly declining employment situation which is not yet reflected in the government’s current employment statistics. One reason for this is that employment legislation – enacted since the last recession – tends to defer the incidence of job losses pending completion of consultation periods.” 


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