UK recruiters record weakest hiring growth in 19 months

LONDON, Oct 7 (Reuters) – British recruiters recorded the slowest hiring growth in more than a year and a half last month as signs of an economic downturn made workers more wary of change jobs and companies more cautious about hiring, survey finds. Friday.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said vacancies rose in September at the slowest pace since February 2021 – when many companies were still facing lockdown restrictions – while starting salaries were growing at the slowest rate in 15 months.

The Bank of England is watching Britain’s labor market closely for signs that the highest inflation in 40 years could trigger a spiral of rising wages and further price hikes.

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However, soaring energy bills mean that many economists are predicting a recession later this year, despite large government subsidies to cover much of the extra spending.

Recruitment of temporary and permanent staff increased at the slowest rate in 19 months, the REC said.

“Some employers, even those who anticipate the recession could be short-lived, are now taking steps to contain costs, including hiring freezes,” said Claire Warnes, head of education, skills and productivity at KPMG UK, which is sponsoring the survey.

“The heightened economic uncertainty also means that workers are choosing to stay in their current roles rather than applying for new ones,” she added.

However, the slowdown must be seen in the context of very tight labor market conditions at the start of 2022, the REC said.

Britain’s unemployment rate was the lowest since 1974 at 3.6% in the most recent official data, which covered the three months to the end of July, although hiring growth was much weaker than expected and vacancies have fallen the most in two years.

The REC survey was based on responses from its members from September 12 to 26.

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Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Kylie MacLellan

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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