Permanent job vacancies rise at record pace in may

In line with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and the re-opening of certain sectors, the rate of hiring has increased over the last month. 

According to the latest KPMG and REC UK Report on Jobs survey, permanent vacancies rose at a record pace – at the fastest rate for over 23 years – while vacancies for temporary workers also grew substantially.

At the same time, there was a clear deterioration in staff supply with overall candidate availability declining at the quickest rate since May 2017. Lower staff supply and rising vacancies led to further increases in starting pay, with both starting salaries and temp pay expanding at sharper rates than in April. This was largely attributed to lingering pandemic uncertainty and a subsequent reluctance to seek out new roles, fewer EU candidates and furloughed staff.

In light of the increased demand and low supply, the rates of starting pay were pushed up again in May. Starting salaries for permanent staff rose to the greatest extent since September 2018, while temp wage inflation hit a near two-year high.

Regionally, it was the North of England that saw the steepest increase in permanent staff appointments of all four monitored English regions. However, the South of England also saw a substantial recovery whilst the rise in vacancies in the Midlands and London stayed largely stagnant.

Vacancies continued to rise more sharply in the private than the public sector, with the quickest increase in demand seen for permanent staff in the private sector.

IT & Computing and Hotel and Catering saw the steepest increase in vacancies although demand for permanent workers rose across all ten monitored job categories during May.

Claire Warnes, Partner and Head of Education, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK, said:

With demand for workers in May increasing at the fastest rate in 23 years, the jobs market seems to be firing on all cylinders, and we need this momentum to continue for our economy and businesses to fully bounce back.

But the deterioration in staff supply intensified this month, with overall candidate availability declining at the quickest rate since May 2017. This is a worrying trend and the message is clear: we need businesses and recruiters working alongside Government to urgently address the skills gap by supporting candidates and employees to upskill and reskill to move into new roles. This will be crucial to our recovery from the pandemic and the levelling up of opportunities across the UK.

Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC, said:

Now is the time for action. With demand spiking, the skills and labour shortages that already existed in the UK have come into sharper focus – and COVID has only made them worse. This is the most pressing issue in the jobs market right now, and has the potential to slow down the recovery.

Employers must think about how they can attract the staff they need, for example by looking at the wage and benefits package on offer – there is particular demand for more flexible and hybrid work. But government also needs to urgently look at improving access to work and opportunities for everyone to participate in training that will lead to a job. This should start with careers information that signals where job openings are being created and funding for the relevant work-related training.

Labour Market Recovers as Lockdown Restrictions Ease

New research has shown that, over the month of March, hiring activity has substantially improved. The labour market showing signs of recovery is thought to be a result of lockdown restrictions easing, seeing many sectors re-open. 

The KPMG and REC ‘UK Report on Jobs’ has shown that there has been a significant improvement in recruitment activity over the previous month (March 2021),

This has been attributed to the rapid vaccine-roll out and the anticipation of COVID-19 restrictions being lifted over the following months.

As such, the number of vacancies expanded at its quickest pace in three years, since August 2018.

In addition to this, the growth in permanent placements almost hit a six-year high, reaching a growth rate of 59.2. Temporary billings expanded at the quickest rate since November 2017, signalling a sizeable recovery in the labour market as companies expect normal business conditions to return.

In response to this, demand for workers has also grown, increasing rapidly by the end of March. This has led to improved pay trends with starting salaries rising for the first time in 2021. Temporary wages also increased for the first time in three months, with the rate of inflation the quickest seen since December 2019.

Overall, it was the Midlands which saw the largest rise in vacancies whilst London saw the least.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

For months, we have been talking about the potential recruiters saw for a recovery in hiring as we got on with vaccinations and the lockdown did its work. Today’s data shows that even during lockdown, our labour market was bouncing back. The strong temporary recruitment trend of the past few months has been maintained, but with a new addition – the fastest increase in permanent job placements since 2015. Taken together with a long-awaited recovery in hiring in London, this is a sign that business confidence is starting to flow back, even at this early stage of unlocking.

As companies start to recruit, they will need to appreciate that the labour market is still suffering from all sorts of shortages. So reviewing their hiring practices and doing things in the best way possible will matter more than ever. Inclusive hiring is not a tick-box exercise – it’s about finding the best candidate for the job no matter who they are, to help your business succeed.

Claire Warnes, Partner and Head of Education, Skills and Productivity at KPMG UK, emphasised the need for companies to focus on their skills gap:

This is good news for businesses, job seekers and the UK economy, but employers are still identifying a big skills gap across sectors including IT, construction and retail, with demand and supply not matching up.

That’s why as we start to look beyond the pandemic, businesses will be even more crucial in making sure prospective and current employees are adaptable, productive and ready for new challenges.

UK hiring rate sees growth throughout 2021

The rise in hiring rates has been attributed to the vaccine roll-out with over 27 million UK adults having received their first dose. 

According to new data from professional networking site LinkedIn, the hiring rate in the UK has seen an increase in January – February 2021.

During this time frame, hiring increased by 2.4 per cent, ultimately suggesting employer confidence is slowly growing. This comes as more UK adults are being inoculated against coronavirus and the roadmap to easing lockdown restrictions is well underway.

However, the hiring rate is still down by 5.8 per cent in comparison to figures from early 2020, showing a complete recovery has not yet been made.

Many industry hiring rates remain significantly down, including in Recreation and Travel (-43.6 per cent), Energy and Mining (-15.3 per cent), Consumer Goods (-15 per cent), Entertainment (-14.7 per cent), Retail (-12.2 per cent) and Manufacturing (-8.7 per cent).

Unsurprisingly, industries that have been instrumental to the pandemic including Healthcare (+34.1 per cent), Public Administration (+32.1%) and Transportation and Logistics (12.6%) are in growth.

However, two of the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic showed potential signs of recovery as they experienced the biggest spikes in the month on month hiring growth in February, after falling in January. Hiring within the Entertainment industry rose by 34.9 per cent whilst Recreation and Travel increased by 34 per cent.

Despite this, it is currently unclear how the predicted vaccine shortage over the coming months will impact hiring rates and the labour market as a whole.

Reflecting on the February figures, Mariano Mamertino, Senior Economist, EMEA at LinkedIn comments:

LinkedIn’s hiring data for February shows signs for cautious optimism. While the steady improvements we’re seeing won’t be enough to offset rising unemployment, it’s certainly positive news that we’re seeing an increase in hiring across UK employers.

The improvement in the Entertainment and Recreation & Travel industries will also come as welcome news to people in those sectors, who’ve faced a very challenging time over the last year. Hiring has been subdued for many months, and it remains slightly below last year’s levels. This means it will take time to get back to pre-pandemic levels of employment, but this data is a positive signal that we are heading in the right direction.

Employers prioritise leadership & digital skills for 2021

Leadership skills including Coaching, Onboarding and Decision Making top the list of most sought-after skills employers are looking for in new recruits, according to job search engine Adzuna.

The study analysed over 600,000 UK job ads advertised in 2020 and just under 150,000 jobseeker CVs to compare the skills sought after by employers with the skills shown by jobseekers, revealing the skills growing in demand and current skills gaps.

With many industries still working remotely, employers are placing greater emphasis on Coaching, Onboarding and Decision Making skills compared to a year ago, as hiring and leading teams through the pandemic is a particular focus. Coaching skills were referenced in 3.7% of job ads in 2020, up from 3.3% in 2019. Onboarding is second, referenced in 0.7% of job ads in 2020, up from 0.4%, as the rise in remote working has driven a need for more onboarding specialists. Decision Making is fourth, cited in 1.5% of job ads, up from 1.3%.

Commenting on the research, Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “Leadership skills such as onboarding and decision-making have grown in demand as employers seek experienced staff to help them navigate through the Covid-19 crisis. That’s also borne out in job vacancies, where openings for more experienced staff have recovered more quickly than those for entry level positions.

This sharpened focus on skilled staff is also seen in job vacancy numbers. Overall, advertised UK vacancies are down 35.8% compared to a year ago, but entry-level graduate vacancies are down 61.0% year-on-year. There are just over 8,000 advertised graduate vacancies currently available, compared to over 22,000 of the highest-paid roles with advertised salaries over £70,000, typically suitable for more experienced jobseekers.

Data demand

Jobseekers with Digital Marketing skills and GDPR knowledge are also in growing demand as employers focus on harnessing the power of the internet, rather than bricks and mortar stores and offices, to reach their customers. Digital Marketing was cited on 1.0% of all job ads in 2020, up from 0.9% in 2019, yet just 5% of jobseekers mention the skill on their CV. Similarly, GDPR featured in 1.1% of job ads in 2020, up from 1.0% in 2019, with 4.3% of jobseekers citing the skill on their CV.

There is a significant skills gap within the Tech industry across the UK. There are over 81,700 IT jobs currently on offer in the UK, accounting for 8.3% of total hiring. However, IT skills are only mentioned in 6.8% of UK CVs. This has increased slightly from 6.10% in 2019, but it still highlights a notable gap in an industry that boasts an average salary of £53,518 (45.0% above the national average of £36,903).

Many specific tech skills are also growing in demand among employers. Programming language Python was cited in 1.6% of job ads in 2020, up from 1.5% in 2019. This is also the most common coding language referenced on jobseekers CVs, found in 6.9%, compared to the 5.6% of jobseekers referencing Java, and just 0.5% mentioning Perl. 4,479 job ads overall require Coding skills.

Cyber Security, AI and Machine Learning are three more skills growing in demand. Cyber Security was cited in 0.6% of job ads in 2020, up from 0.5% in 2019, with 1.7% of jobseekers currently referencing this skill on their CV. Meanwhile, AI and Machine Learning are cited by 0.5% and 0.6% of job ads respectively.

By contrast, the skills gap within Digital has decreased year-on-year. There are 45,800 Digital jobs across the UK, equal to 14.8% of all vacancies. However, the number of jobseekers showcasing digital skills on their CV has increased year-on-year from 16.7% to 19.3%, closing the skills gap in this sector.

Lingual boost

French is the most sought after language in the UK job market, with 2,908 active vacancies looking for French speakers in the UK. German is the 2nd most in-demand language with 2,457 active job vacancies, while Spanish rounds out the top 3 with 1,704 open job vacancies. French is the most common second language with 12.1% of CV’s referencing French as a skill or qualification. In comparison 9.6% of CVs reference Spanish, 6.0% cite German and 5.6% reference Italian. There is a notable opportunity for Mandarin speakers with only 1% referencing the language and 893 open opportunities for Mandarin speakers.

Cited by just 3.2% of jobseekers on their CV, Arabic is becoming more sought-after by employers, with 0.13% of job ads referencing the language in 2020, up from 0.10% in 2019. Similarly, Sign Language was referenced in 0.08% of job ads in 2020, up from 0.06% in 2019, with 984 jobseekers citing BSL on their CV in 2020 and 300 citing ASL.

What are young people looking for in a graduate job?

Research shows the wide-scale level of disruption COVID has caused for young people with over half of the students saying that their ideas about their future career had changed since the start of the pandemic.  

A report by the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) and Debut, a graduate recruitment app, reveals the effects of COVID-19 on students’ thoughts towards graduate jobs and their careers.

In light of the pandemic, students also revealed what they were looking for when it comes to a future job.

The most important priority, which an overwhelming 98 per cent of students agreed with, was the organisation treating them fairly. The opinions towards this differed by demographics. The demographics most likely to believe that employers will treat them fairly in the recruitment process were White respondents and those who attended the non-Russell group. Conversely, Black and Black-British young people (65 per cent), as well as other non-white ethnicities (52 per cent), were less likely to believe that the recruitment process would be fair.

The second highest priority was the job involving interesting work whilst the organisation providing access to training and development ranked third.

Interestingly, an above-average salary ranked sixth most important in a list of nine priorities, indicating that it is not necessarily the most important motivating factor. However, even the least motivating factor which was that the student would be working with people like them received a 73 per cent agreement rate, with almost three-quarters of graduates choosing this as a priority.

Additionally, over half of the students surveyed (57 per cent) stated that their ideas about their future career had changed since the start of the pandemic. Less than half (42 per cent) expressed feeling confident about finding the job that they wanted quickly after leaving education.

Specifically, more women reported changing their minds towards their career in light of the pandemic than men with 61 per cent of women considering this in comparison to only 52 per cent of men. Additionally, men felt more confident than women in finding a job than women (with 48 per cent of men believing this versus only 38 per cent of women).

The report makes several recommendations to employers in order to attract the best talent:

  • Making it explicit that the job is a pathway to a fulfilling career
  • Discussing the wider opportunities that the company will provide
  • Reaching a diverse pool of candidates through various channels
  • Making meaningful connections with candidates
  • Shifting to online recruitment processes if necessary

Additionally, to ensure diversity is made a priority, the report recommends the following:

  • Giving candidates the opportunity to see how they will fit in with the company
  • Being mindful of how you will communicate with different candidates – they all respond well to different approaches
  • Recognising what the students have achieved in their education

    *This data was taken from ISE and Debut’s report ‘What do students really want?: Listening to the voices of young jobseekers’. This survey questioned over 2000 students and job seekers in the UK in June-July 2020.

Jobseeker secured 16 interviews…but had no human interaction

Whilst the recruitment industry has defended its use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the sector could be in danger of losing its human touch.

A recent report told how a graduate recently applied for 60 jobs, securing around 16 interviews – yet he never met one of his potential employers!

“They were all video-based screening interviews – I didn’t even meet my potential employers,” ‘Peter’ told the BBC during a recent interview. “There was no way to tell if I’d impressed them with my answers or experience as there was no human interaction.”

Rejection letters – or rather the lack of them – was also a cause for concern.

“Only 10% of potential employers have given me detailed feedback,” he said.  “As jobseekers, we need to know where and how we can improve – whether that’s with our CVs, job experience or even personality.”

Whilst sifting through piles of CVs can be a laborious task and using AI undoubtedly reduces this task time, research shows systems fail to screen for cultural fit. Whilst creators are still beavering away trying to find the perfect system for the unique needs of organisations, they could end up hindering diversity in the process.

Despite the negativity, flag wavers will argue that technology frees up recruiters’ time from administrative tasks, such as booking candidates into interviews.  Headhunters will cite good technology avoids wasting finite human resource on sourcing calls, repetitive mapping exercises and obsolete database trawls.

As a result, productive use of recruiters’ time can be dedicated to the areas where it has greatest impact, casting their net wider to generate more diverse and higher quality longlists.

An added bonus of AI means perspective candidates are no longer waiting for the phone to ring, bringing them either good or bad news almost instantaneously.

One thing we can be sure of, whether we like it or not, technology moves on in all sectors of business and there is no sign of it slowing up.

Don’t waste time and money on bad recruitment!

Any self-respecting recruiter will take their role seriously.  Very seriously.  The easiest option for any recruiter is to flood a client with a litter of CV’s, hoping that one of them will hit the jackpot and result in a hire.

However, this short-term gain is more often than note a long term failure for both the recruitment agency and it’s client.  It’s important that recruiters strive to make the best hires.  A recent report showed that businesses in the UK are still failing to hire the right candidate for two out of five roles.

The report, commissioned by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) declared that a bad hire at mid-management level can cost a business more than £132,000.

Yet, despite these alarming losses, many recruiters still rush to fill places for their clients, leading to mistakes – and early firings.

“Our company prides itself on presenting our clients with quality rather than quantity in terms of applications,” commented Cherie Hodder, Senior Recruitment Consultant at Birmingham based agency have recently worked with Premier League sides West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City and Chelsea, successfully filling key roles at these clubs.

“The attraction of working in sport attracts a higher than average percentage of applications.  Many clubs we deal with are quite specific in that they want a pre-determined skill set whilst some insist they must have worked in sport previously.

“However, perhaps understandably, this doesn’t deter some would-be applicants and we have to be quite firm and filter these out.  Sadly there are also a small percentage of applicants whose CVs are – should I put politely – are not completely honest with the truth.  We are commissioned by our candidates to present them with the best possible short list, and that is what we had to do.” pride themselves on the quality and longevity of hires they placed in their birth almost two years ago, however Cherie acknowledges recruitment can be a difficult business.

“No recruiter can guarantee every single hire will work long term, there are so many mitigating reasons that lead to a parting of the ways somewhere down the line, and you can’t always legislate for that.

“However we need to ensure every candidate we present has been vetted to our extremely high standards.  And that’s exactly what we do.”

You’re not going to believe this but…

There’s nothing worse for a recruiter then one of your candidates not turning up for an interview.  You’ve spent hours or days sifting through countless CV’s and, in many cases, headhunting potential candidates to present to your clients.  After all you want to give them the best possible pool of applicants to fulfill their trust in you to help fill an important role.

You’ve conducted face-to-face meetings, you’ve helped them ‘polish’ their CV to help present them in the best possible light and now you’re down to the final handful to be shortlisted.  Ping, the email is sent and interviews are diarised.

Now it’s a waiting game.  You’ve know you’ve done everything possible to ensure your client has a excellent group of applicants to ponder.

And then you get the call.  “Your candidate hasn’t turned up for his 10am interview!”

After a series of apologetic responses, you aim to seek out why your ‘bright hope’ is a no-show.

When questioned the reasons for their absence vary immensely.  Some fear failure, some fear success.  There are those who can’t decide what to do and prefer to do nothing as it will absolve them of responsibility.

In all honesty very few sound legitimate, but who is missing out?  Yes the interviewer has lost time and, in some cases, faith in the recruitment agency who in turn has wasted hours of time.  But ultimately the interviewee has lost credibility and a realistic opportunity to better themselves both in career terms and financially.

And then there are a sequence of bemusing excuses which have also been presented.

“I have forgotten to go the dry cleaners, and therefore have nothing decent to wear.”

“I am sorry, but I have had a change of heart.”

“I had a car accident on the way in to have our interview; I may have to go to casualty, but wanted to call you right away.”

“I can’t make it due to a family emergency.”  The exact reason is left to the imagination; could be the budgie got out of the cage or Great Aunt Maggie died.

Or, our favourite that an associate of our was genuinely presented with, ‘I went out last night and spent the night at girl’s house. I’ve not got time to go home and get changed, can we do it tomorrow instead?’

Granted some of these may well have an element of truth to them.  The sad thing is some of these candidates show a real talent for creative thinking.  But what they all have in common is an avoidance of commitment, resistance to change, a fear of the unknown and stepping outside of their comfort zone.

The rationale these people form for putting off an important, even possibly, a life-changing interview is that they need to stay in the old comfortable job and they just are afraid it won’t work out.

Cherie Hodder is the Senior Recruitment Consultant for  To discuss possible career opportunities in sport call Cherie on 0121 272 8386 or email

New Year new start?


Go on, admit it, going back to work after a break over the festive period is always a tough task.

Some of you will be fortunate to have a job which you enjoy, feel valued, fairly paid and have a visible achievable career path.  Sadly the chances are that some of you will not.

Everyone has a wobble now and then, however the chances are if the thought of leaving your current role has crossed your mind on more than one occasion, then now is the time to do something about it.

Companies around the UK will be preparing budgets for the financial year around now, the chances are many will have money set aside for new hires.  Could this be for you?

What would you like to do?  A change of scenery or a change of industry?  You may find your skills are transferable.  The thought of a fresh face with new ideas can appeal to many companies.

Job hunting doesn’t have to daunting, in fact listing all your skills and achievements on a piece of paper can be a morale boost you may need.  Before you ponder any further, set yourself some goals before applying for any role.

Polish your CV

Remember this will be the first and (maybe) only chance for you to sell yourself to a potential employer.  Make sure it’s up to date, accurate and checked for spelling etc.  Three pages should be the optimum as it’s unlikely anything more than this will hold the reader’s attention.

Think of yourself as a shop window, the more appealing you are, the more interest you will receive.

 Practice writing the perfect cover letter

You’d be surprised how many applicants fail to submit a covering letter.  This doesn’t show your application in the best possible light.  A quick search on the internet will find a host of draft examples you could take inspiration from.

 Check and ‘clean’ your social media newsfeed

Believe it or not potential employers will often search for an applicant’s social profile ‘online’ to give them a better perspective as to who they may be looking to employ.  Are there any postings or photos on your history that may come back to haunt you in the future?  Check again!

 Re-vamp your LinkedIn profile

Time is an important commodity to any company, meaning they will only want to interview people whom they believe will add value to their business.  Linkedin is popular business tool these days so use it wisely.  If you struggled to break your CV down to three pages, why not use it was an ideal way to supplement this?

Furthermore, should you be fortunate enough to be granted an interview, it’s wise to try and gain some knowledge of the person(s) you will be meeting.  Again, Linkedin is a window to their very own CV!

Register your details with recruitment agencies is a leading sports recruitment company who regularly lists new roles on our website. Register now to ensure our recruiters can get in touch if a position emerges that fits your profile. and are good examples of online recruitment agencies that cover other industries.

 So now it’s up to you.  Remember ‘If you don’t like where you are, move.  You are not a tree!

Stagnating real wages means moving job the best way to secure a pay rise

A recent Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) press release illustrated the issue relating to Real wages. For the sixth consecutive month, wages continue to fall, according to today’s labour market statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The release also shows that employment reached 32.1 million in the three months to August. It also shows that unemployment fell further, to 1.44 million, but vacancies increased meaning the ratio of job seekers to available jobs fell to 1.9, equal lowest since records began in 2001. Commenting, Recruitment & Employment Confederation chief executive Kevin Green says:

“The creation of more jobs despite business uncertainty is a testament to the determination and positive attitude of British employers to build and grow in the face of economic challenges.  From a job seeker’s point of view though, the continued squeeze on wages means there is little room for full-throttle celebration.

“Recruiters tell us that due to the diminishing pool of available candidates, employers are willing to offer higher salaries or hourly pay rates when advertising for new hires, meaning the best way to secure an above-inflation pay rise might well be to move jobs.

“Businesses can only grow if they have access to the people and skills they need. As the supply of available workers decreases, exacerbated by a declining rate of net migration, it is essential that the government does all it can to support employers. That means urgent clarity on the details of any post-Brexit transition period, confirmation that EU nationals currently working in the UK can stay and rapid development of a sustainable, agile, evidence-based immigration system that will support the economy.”


CEO or Sporting Group International, Adrian Wright commented “the stagnation of wages in the UK is a serious issue for our economy. The decline in growth will certainly inhibit the development and drive of employees. If people do not feel they are being rewarded for their efforts and responsibilities, naturally the consideration of making a job move will be on agenda if wages cannot meet the demands of the increased cost of living”.