UK jobs market rebounds after Brexit shock

Permanent appointments rise for first time in three months in August.

UK firms began hiring again in August as the panic engendered by the vote to leave the European Union subsided, a fresh survey has revealed. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s (REC) permanent staff placements index climbed to 51.1 from 45.4 in July.

It is the first increase in the index in three months. A reading above 50 indicates a higher number of placements compared to the previous month.

“The UK jobs market returned to pre-referendum patterns in August as the initial shock of the vote result subsided. Permanent hiring returned to growth as employers confirmed appointments that had been on hold or delayed in June and July,” said REC chief executive Kevin Green.

“Starting salaries also improved, with employers having to offer more to attract candidates who might be reluctant to move jobs in the current climate.”

The survey – compiled by Markit using data provided by recruitment consultancies – also showed that temp billings rose at their fastest pace since May. Despite the positive development in August, Green added that it was too early to make conclusions about the long-term impact of the Brexit vote on the jobs market.

“The priority now is to shore up business confidence,” he stated.

“Much of this depends on progress the government can make in its difficult task of ensuring that UK businesses have the ability to trade with their neighbours in the EU.”