Jobs market reaches 'turning point'

Employers in nearly all sectors are showing signs of confidence and recruiting more people, according to a new jobs report.


Employers in nearly all sectors are showing signs of confidence and recruiting more people, according to a new jobs report.

The study by KPMG, and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, showed that the number of permanent placements and contract job billings rose at the fastest rate for three months in November. This was in addition to an overall increase in job vacancies during last month.

Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG, said: “This is very encouraging news, with the data suggesting that a turning point for the UK jobs market may have been reached as employers across the board are recruiting more people. Confidence among employers is clearly growing as many firms now look to growth in 2011.”

The report is based on a survey of 400 UK recruitment consultants, and as well as asking consultants to name specific skills that in short supply, uses a figure to represent demand in each job sector. A figure below 50 indicates a drop on the previous month.

Demand for permanent IT staff improved from 54.2 in October to 56.6 in November 2010. However, this was still a lower figure compared with November 2009, when the figure was 60.1. The only industry where a decline was recorded, “albeit only marginal”, was the secretarial and clerical sector.

The recruitment agencies also reported that a number of specialist IT skills were in short supply last month. These included .Net developers, business analysts, business development, digital marketing and software sales.

Furthermore, Brown believed that the public sector recession may not have as severe an impact as previously thought. In July, KPMG and REC had warned that the job cuts in the public sector were starting to bite.

“Whilst government cuts are yet to bite hard in the public sector, the private sector shows resilience in these turbulent times. It remains to be seen whether this trend will continue – but if it does, it would suggest that some of the large scale unemployment worries may not materialise,” said Brown.

Meanwhile, global IT trade association CompTIA has found that many IT departments wants to hire over the next year, but they had concerns about identifying and retaining key staff.

CompTIA’s survey of 350 UK IT companies, ‘Employer Perceptions of IT Training and Certification’, showed that 59 percent said they were understaffed, with those who said they were fully staffed planning to hire and expand next year. However, two-thirds of the respondents said that finding quality new staff was challenging, with 31 percent concerned about retaining existing talent.

The most in-demand skill was project management, which was chosen by 80 percent of respondents. This was followed by database administration or design (77 percent), business intelligence (75 percent), technical support (71 percent) and Cloud or SaaS (70 percent).

Although the majority of IT managers (78 percent) said that certifications were at least a medium priority in hiring, many were also keen to stress experience as being just as important.

Nonetheless, Matthew Poyiadgi, European vice-president of CompTIA, said: “I appreciate that these are hard times, but I strongly urge those who aren’t doing so to look at ways they can upskill their workforce to ensure they keep up with the rapidly changing nature of IT.”

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