Hiring slows slightly as employers struggle to find candidates

Retail was one of the only sectors where demand for staff slowed

Photofusion/REX/Shutterstock

Growth in hiring slowed while salaries continued to rise during June, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

Its latest Report on Jobs showed that while permanent placements and temporary billings continued to rise, this was at a slower rate than in previous months.

This could be attributed to a further deterioration in the availability of candidates, according to the REC, which in turn has forced many employers to push up salaries to attract potential employees. Both permanent and temporary candidate availability declined at sharper rates at the end of the second quarter of this year, it said.

Demand for permanent staff reached a seven-month high in June, and salaries awarded to new permanent employees experienced a corresponding increase. Rates of pay for temporary and contract staff also jumped at a similar level seen to April, when rates of growth hit a two-year peak.

Neil Carberry, the REC’s new chief executive, said it was “a candidate’s market out there”.

He added: “Across the majority of sectors, both temporary and permanent opportunities are growing, and a lack of candidates means it is no surprise to see starting pay also rising.

“Recruiters report that some of this high vacancy rate may be driven by good demand from companies not being matched by candidate willingness to move in the face of the current economic uncertainty.

Demand for staff rose across both the public and private sectors at the end of the second quarter, though this was more marked in the private sector, according to the REC. The slowest rise was in demand for permanent public sector staff.

In terms of sectors, IT and computing experienced the highest demand for permanent workers, while blue-collar employers showed the greatest need for temporary staff. Demand for both permanent and temporary employees in retail stagnated, reflecting some of the recent turbulence affecting high-street employers.

“The one sector that stands out as in a different place is retail,” said Carbery. “Placements are stagnating as the sector reshapes quickly, driven by changing customer demand and stiff competition.

“But the type of customer service skills retail workers develop are in huge demand in other sectors, and the sheer size of our retail sector means there are still opportunities in stores.”

Demand for permanent roles was steepest in the Midlands, while the weakest was in London, the REC found.

EU workers posted abroad to be entitled to local pay rates

Workers posted to another EU country will be entitled to the same rate of pay and working conditions as their local counterparts, under revised rules that have been adopted by the European Parliament.

Employers that send their staff on a temporary assignment abroad will need to comply with all of the host country’s remuneration rules. They must also cover the employee’s travel and accommodation costs and must not deduct these from the worker’s salary.

The revised Posting of Workers Directive also sets the maximum duration of a worker’s assignment abroad at 12 months, with the possibility for a six-month extension.

Beyond that period, a worker and their employer will have to comply with the host country’s labour laws.

Brexit campaigners argued that EU freedom of movement rules allowed sectors such as construction and food processing to cut costs by employing workers from Eastern European countries where labour is cheaper, such as Romania and Poland.

However, the revised rules aim to ensure that workers will receive equal pay for equal work, even if they are on a temporary assignment.

In the event of a fraudulent posting – by a “letterbox company” with no business operations for example – the EU country they are working in should ensure the workers’ rights are protected.

The number of workers posted to another EU country for a temporary job increased by 69% between 2010 and 2016, according to the European Parliament. There were 2.3 million posted workers in 2016.

The EU’s 28 states will have two years to enact the legislation, meaning that the rules are likely to take effect during the Brexit transition period which will run from 29 March 2019 to 31 December 2020.

Dutch Socialist MEP Agnes Jongerius, who was involved in revising the law, described the new rules as a “major accomplishment”.

“Colleagues can be colleagues again, rather than competitors. This is an important step towards creating a social Europe that protects workers and stops companies from engaging in a race to the bottom – a Europe that does not cut corners and that looks out for ordinary, working people,” she said.

According to a survey by LinkedIn UK, 96% of HR professionals and recruiters believed that Brexit was having an impact on their hiring strategies, with 36% claiming candidates were reluctant to move to the UK.

Hirelink is a professional skill development and recruiting Company that specializes in Accounting and Finance Sector.

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