The hospitality industry takes centre stage in the latest KPMG and Recruitment and Employment Confederation UK report on jobs survey, compiled by S&P Global.

November saw a notable surge in short-term vacancies, with hotel and catering leading the way as the sector with the fastest-growing demand for temporary staff.

The report’s findings provide an understanding of the nuances of the current job market, shaped by a weak economic outlook and cautious employers.

Weak economic climate curbs hiring

Lingering economic uncertainty and a hesitancy to commit to new hires continued to weigh on recruitment activity across the UK during November 2023.

Permanent staff appointments contracted at the second-quickest rate since June 2020, while temporary billings fell back into decline after two months of expansion.

Temporary billings fell at a much slower pace than those for permanent staff appointments, reflecting the adaptability sought by employers in the current economic environment.

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By GlobalData

Overall candidate numbers rise

The slowdown in hiring and reports of redundancies pushed up the availability of workers for the ninth straight month in November 2023.

While the upturn in permanent staff supply continued to exceed that seen for temporary candidates, both rose at rapid rates, marking the sharpest increase since December 2020.

Slower increases in starting salaries and temp pay

Recruitment consultancies signalled a further easing in the rate of starting salary inflation.

Though sharp, the increase in permanent starters’ pay was the least pronounced since March 2021 and below the long-running trend. At the same time, temporary wages rose at the slowest rate in 33 months.

The competition for suitably skilled workers continued to push up pay overall, while budgetary pressures on clients weighed on overall growth.

Overall demand for staff weakened slightly in November 2023, marking only the second time that total vacancies had fallen since February 2021.

Underlying data highlighted that permanent staff vacancies fell slightly for the third month running, while the growth of demand for temporary workers remained much softer than the historical trend, and was only modest.

Regional and sector variations

London recorded by far the steepest reduction in permanent placements of all four monitored English regions. The Midlands was the only area to see an increase, albeit one that was mild overall.

Divergent trends were seen at the regional level, with temp billings falling in the South of England and London but rising slightly in the Midlands and the North of England.

Latest data signalled that permanent vacancies fell in both the private and public sectors, with the latter noting the quicker rate of decline.

The overall upturn in demand for temporary staff was meanwhile supported by the private sector, as short-term vacancies continued to fall in the public sector.

Sector data revealed that demand for permanent staff fell in half of the ten monitored categories.

Construction saw the steepest rate of decline, followed by the executive/professional sector. The nursing/medical/care sector and the engineering sector, meanwhile, saw the strongest upturns in demand.

Hospitality steals the spotlight

Short-term vacancies rose in just over half of the ten monitored employment categories during November, and hotel and catering emerged as the standout sector with the quickest rise in demand for temporary staff.

Within the dynamics of the hospitality industry, it is clear that flexibility and adaptability in staffing are crucial in navigating the current economic landscape.