The Signs are that the Balance Between Available Temporary and Permanent Jobs is Changing

Copyright (c) 2011 Alison Withers

The latest jobs information for April 2011 reinforces the picture that demand for permanent staff is growing, reinforcing a previous survey on employers’ confidence and hiring intentions for the rest of 2011, which showed some glimmers of confidence returning.

Published by the UK’s Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG it showed that numbers of permanent staff appointments rose in April and at a faster rate, although growth was still below February’s ten-month high.

By contrast the rate of expansion of temporary and contract staff reduced to its lowest level of the year so far. Recruitment agencies also report an increase in the numbers of candidates signing up for both permanent and temporary posts.

The REC’s Chief Executive Kevin Green has suggested that the slowdown in the expansion of temporary posts could be explained by employers’ uncertainty about the changes to regulations for agency workers that is due to come into force in October 2011.

The Government has now published its new guidelines following consultations hosted by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) with recruitment agencies, employers and others. Mr Green welcomed the publication and the efforts that have been made to address the concerns of those consulted.

He said that it was crucial to limit bureaucracy and uncertainty and that, while implementation would create some challenges, the regulations did not fundamentally impact on the crucial flexibility provided by agency.

The April issue of the REC/KPMG Report on Jobs shows a very mixed picture that has been called a twin track jobs market, in which the public sector is largely stagnant as the Government’s austerity measures and public sector job cuts begin to take effect.

However, some parts of the private sector have been more confident in hiring staff, although those private sector businesses that have depended heavily on securing public sector contracts are still in an uncertain position.

As business starts to recover from the recession and show signs of expanding, hopefully they will need to take on more support staff with administration and secretarial skills to ensure that they can deal with new business gained efficiently.

This makes it a good time for employers to be building a good relationship with a recruitment agency it can trust so that when they do have vacancies that need filling quickly they will be able to have confidence that the right candidates will be found to match their company’s culture and requirements.

Similarly it is a good time for candidates to search for an agency that will be able to help them, whether they are looking for a move up the career ladder, perhaps from secretarial to executive PA, or are preparing for possible redundancy.

The number of job seekers coming onto the workforce traditionally swells significantly in the summer months, when the academic years ends and new graduates become available. Similarly, students on long vacation will be looking for temporary positions and if the trend shown in the latest figures continues over the coming months, there is likely to be more competition for temporary work.


It is time for ambitious executive PAs to get the CV in shape and sign up with a specialist recruitment agency in London to take advantage of new opportunities as new statistics show a growth in job vacancies in April 2011. By Ali Withers.

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