The jobs market has “ended the year on a high”, with employment and wages strengthening despite fears of a post-Brexit slowdown, according to a key survey.
Companies increased their permanent staff headcount in November at the fastest pace since February and starting salaries rose to a six-month high, according to a monthly report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and Markit.
The number of job vacancies also edged higher as the survey found that fewer people were available to fill the roles being created, suggesting that companies may have to increase pay offers to compete for staff.
The findings, which are more timely than official data but not as comprehensive, defy predictions of a pick-up in unemployment and a hit to wages that underpinned forecasts for an economic slowdown by the Bank of England and the Office for Budget Responsibility.
Kevin Green, chief executive of the confederation, which represents the UK’s recruitment industry, said: “The jobs market is ending the year on a high, with appointments and vacancies at levels not seen since February. In all parts of the UK, recruiters are reporting increasing demand, so clearly businesses continue to seek growth in their workforces.”
The labour market has shown little sign of a slump since the Brexit vote. Employment is at a record high and unemployment at an 11-year low at 4.8 per cent. However, the official data has pointed to a slowing in recruitment in recent months.
Mr Green said that the main concern for 2017 appeared to be “an increasing skills shortage”, which typically would suggest that pay would rise.