What’s going on in the industry and why should it matter to you?

Jobs & Recruitment in the South East

Having been in recruitment for 20 years I know that as recruiters we are at the sharp end of the economy and, because of that fact, we are the first to see the market fall and then rise again.

A barometer if you like of what is happening in the country, because if the markets fall, hiring will stop and if it flourishes hiring will increase. It’s the same with candidate availability; if the economy crashes candidates will stay in their roles, however unhappy they are. If it flourishes they will move and take the risk of being last in first out.

KMPG in conjunction with our governing body, The Recruitment Employment Confederation produces a monthly report showing the state of the market and here I will tell you the highlights of each month giving you an insight to South Easts Hiring Trends across the region and what this means to you as an employee.

In February

Permanent Hiring: The number of people placed in a permanent role in the South East rose for the first time in 11 months! Though modest the rate of expansion was the strongest recorded since Jan 19. This is truly significant for us all. It means the market is moving, employers aren’t sitting on the fence any longer and shows greater confidence among clients following the General Election. The up-turn in permanent placements was broadly echoed in line with the trend across the UK.

  • The availability of permanent staff eased slightly but we are severely outpacing the rest of the UK, with availability being at its slowest and most marked in the South East. This means talent shortages abound, with the graphic below showing you which sectors are worst impacted.


  • Temporary Hiring: Temporary roles fell, and have fallen 3 of the past 4 months; this we think is due to nearing full employment and the transient workforce walking into full-time roles. It’s something to be aware of going forward as you look at planning schedules and production, covering holidays etc. You need to pre-plan, gone are the days of ‘phoning and there being a line of temp candidates sitting around waiting for your call. In turn, those that are available command a higher hourly rate as well; all things to consider for the hirer.
  • The rate of temp workers has declined significantly, the steepest drop in the last 6 months. Some of this is considered to be directly attributed to the impending IR35 changes. More on this in next months update. The below graphic shows the shortages in temp skilled staff.

Lastly – Salary Increases!

Data from the Office of National Statistics showed that average weekly earnings across the UK increased by 4.7% year on year over the 3rd quarter of 2019 to £646. We were still well below our friends up North though, with an increase of 11.7%.  When was the last time you looked at your staff salaries?

Neil Carberry, CEO Recruitment & Employment Confederation Chief Executive, said: “It’s good to see that businesses have grown in confidence over the past two months and taken the opportunity to restart hiring. In the South, permanent placements are up, and demand for staff has risen at the quickest rate for five months. This is good news for employers, recruiters and candidates – all three can now get on with making the economy flourish in 2020. But the upcoming IR35 reforms are having a negative impact on the availability and placement of temporary workers. It is vital that people pay the right amount of tax and that the system is fair, but for both of those things to happen, we think the government needs to pause and think again on how IR35 changes.”

In summary, as an employer, you need to have a hiring strategy. The hiring of the right person takes longer than it used to. The market dictates their availability and in turn, your reputation dictates the amount of talent that will walk through your door (and stay) either from traditional hiring methods (most of these no longer work and that’s a totally different blog altogether) or through your recruiter.

You need a recruiter with large social media reach, exclusive candidates, industry experience from both sides of the fence, employer/business owner and recruiter and a great reputation with proven results that can give you industry insight, not just CVs, and not be afraid to do so. I really hope you have one of these. If you don’t, let’s have a chat.

If you want a copy of the full report let us know. Mandy can be contacted on mandy@rsegroup.agency or 01424 830000