A new report, analysing figures for the month of October 2020, has shown that the number of permanent vacancies has fallen. However, the number of temporary job roles increased for the third month in a row.

A new report from KPMG and Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) has shown the continued effect of COVID-19 on recruitment levels within the UK.

The data shows that, during the month of October, the number of permanent staff appointments dropped. Conversely, the number of temporary vacancies rose – a trend that the report attributes to “greater uncertainty over the outlook amid rising COVID-19 cases” which made recruiters prefer to hire short-term staff.

As expected, the number of candidates available to fill vacancies continued to rise over this month. However, the rate of growth for this number eased to a five month low. This supply of labour remained high due to the number of redundancies made as a result of the furlough scheme coming to an end – although the Government has now confirmed the scheme’s extension until March 2021.

However, the result of the rising candidate numbers in addition to reduced client budgets meant starting salaries for both permanent and temporary positions fell significantly. The rates of decline in this area has quickened since September.

The areas of the UK which saw the largest rise in permanent vacancies are the Midlands and the North of England. Conversely, there were falls in this area for the South of England and London. However, temporary vacancies rose in the UK generally including the South, Midlands and the North.

Private sector vacancies increased in October 2020 whilst public sector jobs fell for both permanent and temporary roles. The sectors that saw the least demand for staff included retail, hotel and catering whilst the most demand was IT and computing as well as engineering.

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.

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.

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.

*This research was taken from KPMG and REC’s October report ‘UK Report on Jobs’ which compiled responses from 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.