FILE PHOTO: Workers travel through London Bridge rail and underground station during the morning rush hour in London, Britain, September 8, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Files/File Photo
By Suban Abdulla
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s labour market showed further signs of cooling as permanent job placements fell for the fifth month in a row in February and pay growth slowed, reflecting employers’ concerns about the economy, a survey published on Wednesday showed.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation/KPMG monthly permanent placements index fell to 46.3 last month, down from 46.8 in January with employers more likely to use temporary workers to fill roles.
Billings for temporary workers rose but at a softer rate than in January, according to the survey.
Clare Warnes, partner for skills and productivity at KPMG UK, said the economic outlook was impacting hiring activity.
“Employers keep playing the short game by focusing on temporary hires,” Warnes said.
Wednesday’s survey echoed other signs of a slowdown in the labour market although some measures of the broader economy, including business surveys and data on consumer confidence and public finances, have shown improvement, easing worries about a long recession.
REC said increases in starting salaries for permanent and temporary workers were the second-weakest in nearly two years.
The Bank of England, which has raised borrowing costs 10 times since late 2021 to combat a surge in inflation, is worried about cost pressures in the jobs market but has said it expects pay growth to weaken.
REC said vacancies grew in February at the fastest pace in four months with the healthcare industry showing the highest demand for workers.
The availability of workers to fill jobs fell at its slowest pace since March 2021 with some recruiters saying recent redundancies had increased the supply of workers.