Worker shortage in region

A SHORTAGE of permanent workers in Suffolk is leading employers to hire more temporary workers and pay more than ever for them, a new jobs survey has revealed.

A SHORTAGE of permanent workers in Suffolk is leading employers to hire more temporary workers and pay more than ever for them, a new jobs survey has revealed.

Increased demand for staff in the east of England saw appointments rise in the fourth quarter last year.

Average salaries for permanent staff rose for the ninth consecutive quarter, partly due to a shortage of skilled workers, while hourly pay rates for temporary and contract staff went up as a result of increases to the national minimum wage.

Suffolk firms are now struggling to recruit permanent skilled workers and face hiring temporary employees on a short-term basis.

According to the latest East of England Report on Jobs, demand for permanent staff continued to rise in the fourth quarter due to higher levels of business activity at east of England firms.

Jack Kennedy, economist at NTC Research and author of the report, said: “The latest data shows that the east of England labour market performed solidly in the final quarter of the year following a weak third quarter.

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“Nevertheless, job market conditions in the region remain relatively subdued compared with the rest of the UK.

“Significant skill shortages were again encountered by recruiters, especially those seeking permanent staff.

“This was a boost for temp agencies as many companies instead turned to short-term workers to meet rising workloads.”

Six of eight industry sectors surveyed for the jobs report recorded improvements in demand for permanent staff during the quarter. The strongest rate of growth in demand was for secretarial and clerical employees.

The number of people placed in permanent jobs by recruitment consultancies rose for the 11th quarter in a row. However the rate of growth was below the UK average and was the slowest since the second quarter of 2003.

The consultants surveyed put the slowdown to a growing shortage of candidates in the region.

In Ipswich the jobless rate rose marginally in the three months to December to 2.9per cent.

Weblink: www.eeda.org.uk

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