A recent survey has revealed that job vacancies in the UK have grown by the fastest rate in 15 years.
The report, which is made up of a job vacancies index consisting of data collected from 400 recruitment firms, shows occupational opportunities are now at their highest level since July 1998.
As well as illustrating how growth in salaries for permanent staff was also at its highest point in six years, the report – which is produced by the research firm Markit and is sponsored by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) – highlights engineering and nursing as being the sectors generating the most significant levels of demand.
Bernard Brown, head of business services at KPMG (one of the report's sponsors) said the figures were an accurate reflection of the overall change in outlook this year.
“Six months ago - after almost five years of pain - most employers were wondering just how real the signs of recovery were.” he said. “Business certainly seems to be more confident.”
Whilst it is of course good news that overall demand for staff is increasing throughout the UK, it is important to bear in mind that the report also illustrated the availability of candidates to fill permanent and temporary posts fell in November. Statistics show that this is consistent with recent trends.
Mr Brown noted: “It may be that people are still worried about job security but it is more likely that we are seeing a return of the traditional winter slowdown in recruitment as staff are more focused on Christmas than careers”.
Another report (released last week) showed that business confidence grew in October for the tenth consecutive month. This report – carried out by respected accountants BDO – analyses business trends to assess and predict perceived degrees of confidence within the business world. Their expectations are that growth in the first half of next year is likely to be 'robust'.
One of BDO's partners, Peter Hemington, believes that, now an economic recovery (of sorts) is in place, the Government should focus on other areas of business which are still of major concern to many in their respective fields.
He said: “The UK clearly has some substantial long-term problems in terms of an underperforming education system and a dysfunctional planning regime. Only time will tell whether the Coalition Government's radical plans for educational reform will work, but at least there is plenty of energy behind implementing these.”
Cause for optimism perhaps? One would like to think so, after all, any indication that a long-term decline in real incomes is being checked by a return to economic growth has got to be a good thing. However, as with most soupçons of good news regarding the economy, it is invariably tinged with a somewhat bitter-sweet realisation that - for many - the glass is still half empty rather than half full...
Image courtesy of PA