The jobs market is growing but at a slower rate, further highlighting that the UK has a two-speed labour market - with private firms recruiting staff as the public sector cuts back, new research shows.
The rate of expansion of permanent staff placements eased in March following a 10-month high in February, a study among 400 recruitment and employment firms revealed.
The availability of staff to fill permanent jobs rose for the second month in a row, although temporary staff availability slowed.
Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, which conducted the survey, said: “The jobs market is still growing but at a slower rate than in February.
“The report again highlights that the UK has a two-speed labour market, with the private sector creating jobs as the public sector reduces employment.
“The good news is that vacancies are rising at their highest rate since April last year and March is the 18th consecutive month that vacancies have grown. This demonstrates increasing demand for new staff from private-sector businesses.
“What is concerning is the increase in starting salaries for permanent staff, which is due to two factors.
"Firstly, people changing jobs are clearly looking for higher pay to compensate for inflation, and secondly, the growing competition for quality candidates in some sectors such as IT, engineering and finance.”
Bernard Brown of KPMG, which helped with the study, said: “The latest figures show that the job market recovery remains volatile.”