Dorset Job Market Report – February 2020

Job Market Report Coronavirus

The South’s Job Market Report: February 2020

Permanent placements rise at the quickest rate for 14 months as demand for staff continues to improve.
Every month we receive the latest figures on the employment market in the South and the UK, kindly provided by IHS Markit, KPMG & REC who gather the key statistics from recruitment consultancies in the area.


  • Stronger rise in permanent placements, but temp billings fall again
  • Demand for staff strengthens
  • Vacancies increase at quickest pace since January 2019
  • Weakest decline in overall staff availability since mid-2013

Commenting on the latest survey results, Ian Brokenshire, Senior Partner for KPMG in Plymouth, said:

“The upturn in the UK jobs market remains steady, evidenced by a further rise in the number of people placed into permanent job roles and at the quickest rate in 14 months. However, looking ahead, the current big unknown is the impact and influence the coronavirus may have on market confidence, let alone the lingering uncertainty around the actual Brexit deal.

Businesses will be hoping that next week’s Budget provides some relief and investment to help get the UK back on the path to growth”

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said:

“Businesses are feeling positive, placement numbers are up, and the number of vacancies is now rising at the quickest pace for over a year. It shows just how important stability can be. With a little confidence about where the economy is heading, employers can make clear plans for hiring and put them into practice.

Politicians must be careful to maintain that stability – whether that’s in negotiations with the EU, or making sure that the tax and skills policies in next week’s Budget work for business.”


Permanent placements continue to grow.

The number of permanent placements rose for the third consecutive month in February. The rate of growth was also the strongest since December 2018. Recruitment professionals attributed this to the confidence following the general election and the strengthening demand for skilled staff.

Temp billings continue to decline.

Temporary billings fell for the 2nd month in February, but the rate of contraction was little-changed from January. Much of the reduction has been lined to the upcoming IR35 reforms.


Permanent and temporary vacancies continue to grow and at the sharpest rate for a year. 

Both permanent and temporary statistics show a sharp rise in demand. The increase in permanent vacancies has been the sharpest rise since January 2019 and demand for temporary staff has also risen at the quickest rate since May 2019. This was across both the public and private sectors.


Rate of reduction in permanent labour supply slows

Although candidate availability is still in decline, the pace of this has declined to the slowest rate for almost three and a half years. This is attributed to a few factors. Agencies are reporting that candidates are preferring permanent positions, and they are now more open to discussing new opportunities.

For temporary staff, the fall was also softer and at it’s weakest since July 2013. Availability has risen due to the new IR35 regulations leading both employers and employees to consider permanent placements.

DEMAND FOR SKILLS (South of England)

Skills in Short Supply: Permanent staff

Accounting/Financial: Accountants, Auditors, Bookkeepers, Estimators, Financial Planners, Insurance, Paraplanners, Tax Professionals & Taxation.
See our Finance Jobs
Construction: Construction Sales & Quantity Surveyors
Engineering: Calibration Engineers, Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Senior Electronic Engineers & Technicians
See our Engineering Jobs
Executive/Professional: Business Development, Directors, Executives, Geologists, Legal, Management & Marketing
See our Marketing Jobs
IT/Computing: CAD, Data Scientists, Database Developers, Design Managers, Developers, IT, Software Engineers, Technical Sales, Technology
Secretarial/Clerical: Administration & Office Staff
See our Admin Jobs
Other: Sales
See our Sales Jobs


February shows stronger increase in starting salaries.

Salaries continued to rise in February mainly being linked to the lack of skilled candidates available in the current market. The national trend showed a sustained rise in starting pay and the rate of inflation was the strongest on record since July 2019. Regionally, the pay growth lagged the national trend, but still increased.


Data from the Office for National Statistics reports that the average weekly earnings across the UK rose by 1.6% on an annual basis during the final quarter of 2019 to £647.

The South East was the fasted reported growth of all regions during the last quarter with average weekly earnings rising by 6.3% to £728. The sharpest fall was seen in London where average weekly earnings dropped by 4.8%  on the previous year to £805.

The private sector experienced a softer growth in weekly earnings with the rate falling from 3.1% to 2.7% in the final three months of the year, while the public sector pay increase remained the same at 3.3%.


Sources: Thanks as always to IHS Markit, KPMG and REC for the data provided.

Related Dovetail articles:

HR + Business News: March 2020 
Dovetail Recruitment Quarterly Update
The South’s Job Market Report: January 2020 – Permanent placements increase for the first time in almost a year.

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