Region’s hiring activity rebounds

The Midlands has seen a rebound in hiring activity with vacancies rising at the fastest rate for over two-and-a-half years.

According to the latest KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs: Midlands, permanent staff appointments rose for the first time in three months and at the steepest rate since July 2018, while the upturn in temp billings gathered further pace.

Meanwhile, amid reports that companies were resuming hiring efforts, vacancies rose at the fastest rates for over two-and-a-half years.

Firmer demand for candidates placed upwards pressure on pay in March. Starting salaries rose for the first time in a year, while the rate of temp wage inflation was the quickest since last December.

The report is compiled by IHS Markit from responses to questionnaires sent to around 100 recruitment and employment consultancies in the Midlands.

Following two months of decline, the number of permanent placements across the Midlands rose during March. Notably, the rate of increase was the quickest since July 2018 and marked.

According to anecdotal evidence, companies resumed hiring efforts amid the planned easing of lockdown measures and due to improved consumer confidence.

Across the four monitored English regions, the Midlands saw the quickest upturn in permanent placements during March.

A ninth straight monthly uptick in temporary billings across the Midlands was recorded in March. Respondents attributed the latest rise with a stronger degree of confidence among employers and improved demand. The rate of increase was the steepest for over six years, and among the most marked on record.

The Midlands also recorded by far the fastest upturn in temp billings across the four monitored UK regions.

March data highlighted a renewed increase in the supply of permanent staff across the Midlands, amid reports that redundancies, and improved confidence, had led to a greater number of job seekers.

The upturn in permanent staff supply was solid, but nonetheless slower than during the second half of 2020.

Karl Edge, partner and Midlands regional chair at KPMG UK, said: “The Midlands jobs market is rebounding off the back of the Government’s plans to ease national lockdown measures, with permanent placements rising at the steepest rate since July 2018 and temporary billings continuing to climb too. In fact, placing a spotlight on the region, the Midlands saw the quickest uptick in permanent positions across England in March.

“The pandemic continues to underline the importance of having the right people power and skills to bolster economic recovery. And that’s why as we look beyond COVID-19, businesses will be vital in ensuring the Midlands maintains its edge, while also showcasing the region’s ability to rise to the challenge and rebuild even stronger.”

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