October saw a renewed drop in permanent staff appointments, as rising rates of Covid-19 slowed the recruitment process, according to KPMG and REC’s Report on UK Jobs.
The report, compiled by IHS Markit, saw mass redundancies and fears over job security resulted in a further sharp rise in candidate availability.
However, overall job vacancies declined over the period, after rising in September, according to responses from questionnaires sent to a panel of around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies.
James Stewart, vice chair at KPMG, said: “With a reluctance to recruit permanent staff and a big increase in people available for work, the impending lockdown puts the UK jobs market in a precarious position.
“While the furlough scheme extension may give a brief respite, it will fuel economic uncertainty and further dampen prospects for jobseekers, hitting hiring activity hard.”
He added: “The Government needs to ensure it offers enough financial support to UK business and opportunities for jobseekers to upskill as we continue to navigate through this crisis.”
Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said: “October brought a dose of realism after a quick economic bounce in the summer. While a new England-wide lockdown starts this week, similar restrictions were already in force in much of the UK last month.
“These figures show that hiring was still going on – and we believe that firms are better prepared to trade through these new restrictions than they were in March. Nevertheless, the outlook remains uncertain, and concerning.”
He added: “We face a challenging winter and temporary work will be a vital tool for keeping businesses going and people in work.
“All businesses are looking to government to use the lockdown wisely and provide the Test and Trace system, vaccine and economic support that firms will need if they are to drive our recovery in 2021.”