UK starting salaries rise by record amount as jobs squeeze tightens

LONDON (Reuters) – Salaries for workers starting permanent jobs in Britain rose by the most on record as employers struggled to find staff while the COVID-19 pandemic kept people away from work, according to a survey published on Friday.

A day after Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey warned of the challenge facing employers looking for staff, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said vacancies hit their highest level since it began its survey nearly 24 years ago.

“We know that reskilling and upskilling is needed to help people move between sectors, and there’s no doubt the ‘pingdemic’ has added an extra dimension to the recruitment challenge,” Claire Warnes, head of skills at KPMG UK, which co-produces the survey, said.

Hundreds of thousands of workers have had to self-isolate for up to 10 days after being identified by a government smartphone app as a close contact of someone who had tested positive for coronavirus.

Britain’s government said this week it would tweak the app so that fewer contacts of asymptomatic people who test positive for the disease would need to self-isolate.

REC said there was also a lack of European workers due to Brexit, adding to difficulties caused for employers by the low unemployment rate.

Growth in the number of people placed into permanent job roles in July eased only slightly from June’s all-time record while temporary billings expanded at the quickest rate since 1998, it said.

BoE Governor Bailey said on Thursday that getting people to fill vacant positions was a key challenge for the economy, and that the central bank did expect unemployment to spike when finance minister Rishi Sunak’s job-protecting furlough scheme is phased out at the end of September.

(Writing by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken)


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