KPMG & REC on the UK Labour Market

The 3rd August Report on Jobs from KPMG LLP & the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) (compiled by Markit) provides an interesting study in comparison to our own studies of project management role availability and candidate interest.

This monthly report states that its ultimate goals are to feature “original survey data which provide the most up-to-date monthly picture of recruitment, employment, staff availability and employee earnings trends available.”

Here are the four main bullet points the monthly ROJ led with for the latest edition:

  • Modest rises in permanent placements and temporary billings
  • Demand for staff grows at slowest pace in eight months
  • Pay growth quickens from June’s low but remains muted
  • Faster improvement in candidate availability

That last point is most certainly the one I want to hold up to the mirror for closer inspection, mainly due to the PPM data we’ve compiled recently. Support for this point is listed on page 6 of the ROJ, which tabulates the findings of what recruitment consultants collectively report on the availability of permanent and temporary staff and whether or not that level of availability has changed or not from previous months. The findings during July mark some high-water standards for 2011. In the season-adjusted index, 53.4% of candidates in a permanent classification were available in July, easily the highest total by nearly 2%. More importantly, that figure is now safer than ever in 2011 from dipping below the 50% mark, a drop that would indicate deteriorating availability. On the temporary/contract staff side, the SAI revealed 56% were available in July, second for the year and highest since February’s mark of 57%.

Whilst the notion of widespread candidate availability in July as comparable to February (when you still have the remnants of the post-holiday season redundancies to contend with) is interesting, particularly as summer holidays begin to kick off, the contrast between all of the UK’s job sectors and the PPM sector by its lonesome seems stark.

In truth, the project manager at this moment seems more confident in their approach to their priorities and needs out of the work they’re going to provide.

We uncovered this growing confidence with project management job candidates in our own quarterly white paper on the programme & project management recruitment market in the UK. Those interested in receiving a copy of PPM insider can go here or email us. For the sake of our findings, here are the operative findings as they tie in with bullet point 4 from the ROJ, as reported at Arras People’s Newsroom

Issue 4 also reveals that more candidates are refusing job offers in recent months than in previous quarters. The driving force seems to be candidates’ need to settle down into the “right role”, another perspective alteration that parallels recovery-based thinking. Employers’ ability to meet their recruitment requirements may suffer for increased job seeker self-confidence.

“This, linked with the lack of candidate churn, may well lead to increased recruitment costs and extended recruitment cycles for many potential employers,” PPM Insider reveals.

How are these two separate findings connected? This is how: When a candidate, after a couple of years of full understanding of the economic tea leaves, now suddenly feels MORE compelled to hold out for something better / turn down a job offer (Remember “be glad you have a job”?), they might feel they have reason to think they’re in fact, holding the keys, not the other way around. In essence, whilst the availability of viable job candidates might be “up” universally, PPM practitioners seem to think that the right opportunities are up, their skills and desires more able than ever to be properly met and addressed.

What say you? Comment below, or email me. Do candidates hold the keys? Are opportunities on the rise?


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