White-collar workers are more reluctant to move jobs as the process of leaving the European Union begins, according to a survey of recruiters.
Availability of temporary staff declined in March at the fastest rate since January 2016 and also fell sharply for permanent staff, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said.
Wariness about the jobs market is reflected in the behaviour of consumers. Retail sales fell at their fastest rate in nearly seven years in the three months to February, according to official figures.
“Economic uncertainty about future prospects is having a detrimental effect on employees’ willingness to risk a career move at this time, which seems to be driving down candidate availability,” Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC, said.
Staff shortages continued to push up the growth in starting salaries, although more slowly than in February, the confederation said. Information technology specialists and medical staff were among those workers most in demand.
Gertjan Vlieghe, a Bank of England rate-setter, said on Wednesday that slow wage growth in official data suggested that the economy could continue to grow without pushing up inflation, despite the unemployment rate falling to its lowest level since 2005.