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  • Christina Boon

Demand for staff is outstripping supply. The July Jobs outlook

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

With salaries for new hires increasing at their quickest rate in 24 years and a sharp rise in permanent placements in July, there has never been a better time to look for a new job. This is a very buoyant jobs market and candidates should be taking this opportunity to look for their dream job.

Placements in July 2021

Permanent staff appointments across the UK increased for the fifth month running in July at 69.3 on the permanent placements index. Notably, the rate of expansion was the second fastest seen since the survey began in October 1997, having softened only slightly from June’s peak. London saw by far the quickest expansion, which was the fastest on record at 77.3.

A further increase in temp billings was also noted with the rate of expansion quickening for the third month in a row. The rate of growth in July was the steepest seen for just over 23 years. Improved market confidence, higher levels of business activity and strong demand for staff has led businesses to push forward with hiring plans.

Vacancies in July 2021

Not only were placements up, but vacancies were also increasing for the sixth month in a row. In July, permanent vacancies were at 75.1, up from 74.4 in June and temp vacancies were at 72.8 which was the quickest rise in vacancies seen since 1997. The private sector is still faring far better than the public sector, but that said, short-term vacancies rose more quickly this month than permanent roles in the public sector.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), job vacancies in the 3 months to June 2021 more than doubles from the same period a year ago, up +153%, as the economy continued to recover from the pandemic. At 862,000, the number of vacancies in this quarter was the highest seen since the 3 months to October 2018.


Demand for permanent staff rose across all of the ten monitored job categories during July, led by IT & Computing. There has also been a broad-based upturn in demand for temporary workers. Blue Collar remained at the top of the rankings, followed closely by Hotel & Catering. Interestingly, Retail is the one category across both permanent and temporary vacancies where demand is low. When compared to the same period in July 2020 when retail was the strongest sector for vacancies, this sudden fall is unprecedented and could be symptomatic of the changes the pandemic has brought to the way we now shop.

Candidate availability

The index that measures available candidates is still well below the neutral 50.0 level (with anything above 50.0 demonstrating growth).  In fact, candidate availability is declining at such a rate, it is now standing at 25.9 and the rate of reduction eased only slightly from June’s survey record and was the second steepest seen since the survey began nearly 24 years ago.

All of the above leads to the rate of starting salary inflation quickening for the fourth month running in July. Moreover, it was the sharpest increase in starting pay for new permanent joiners since the survey began in October 1997. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that employee earnings (including bonuses) rose +7.3% on an annual basis in the three months to May 2021. This was an acceleration from +5.7% in the preceding three-month period and marked the steepest rate of growth in the series history.

In conclusion – if you are thinking of looking for a new job, NOW is the time to make that change. There has never been a better time for candidates to find their dream job and with furlough set to end shortly and potentially bolster candidate availability, you need to be talking to our Recruitment Consultants today.

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