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IEP's influence extends further than just to the membership. As a professional institution, we maintain extensive business links and members are encouraged to work with the wider community.


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Report on Jobs

Posted By Heather Ette, 10 April 2019

Permanent staff appointments decline as Brexit-related uncertainty intensifies




Key findings 

  • Permanent placements fall at quickest pace since July 2016
  • Vacancies increase at slowest rate since August 2016
  •  Availability of candidates continues to decline sharply


The latest KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs showed that heightened uncertainty towards the outlook underpinned the fastest decline in permanent staff appointments since mid-2016 in March. Brexit-related uncertainty also contributed to a further steep decline in staff availability.

The report, which is compiled by IHS Markit from responses to questionnaires sent to a panel of around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies, showed that permanent staff appointments fell for the second time in three months in March, and at the quickest rate since the aftermath of the Brexit referendum result in July 2016. Concurrently, billings received from the employment of short-term staff rose at the second-slowest rate for two-and-a-half years. 

Low candidate availability also continued to hamper staff hiring, with recruiters noting further sharp falls in both permanent and temporary candidate numbers. This, in turn, sustained upward pressure on rates of pay. That said, growth of both permanent starters’ salaries and temp wages waned slightly since February. Meanwhile, overall demand for staff expanded at the softest rate since August 2016.

Permanent placements fall at quickest rate since mid-2016 

Recruitment consultancies signalled a renewed drop in permanent staff appointments amid heightened uncertainty towards the outlook and reports of delayed decision making. Though modest, the rate of reduction was the fastest seen since July 2016. Temp billings meanwhile expanded at the second-slowest rate for two-and-a-half years (after January 2019).

Although still indicative of a strong rise in overall demand for staff, the index measuring vacancies edged down again in March. Notably, demand for workers increased at the softest pace since August 2016, with both permanent and short-term vacancies rising at slower rates. 

Candidate supply continues to decline

The availability of both permanent and temporary staff continued to fall markedly at the end of the first quarter. Recruiters commonly linked the fall to a reluctance among candidates to move roles amid Brexit-related uncertainty, and a generally low unemployment rate across the UK. 

A combination of lower candidate availability and strong demand for staff led to further increases in pay. That said, rates of pay growth softened since February. The latest increase in starting salaries, though sharp, was the slowest recorded for just under two years. Meanwhile, temp pay growth was the least marked since March 2017.

Regional and Sector Variations

Regional data showed that permanent staff appointments declined in the Midlands, London and the South of England. Meanwhile, the North of England signalled a modest expansion. The North of England registered a marked rise in temp billings, while softer increases were seen in London and the Midlands. In contrast, the South of England saw a renewed reduction.

Data showed a relatively weak picture for public staff demand compared to the private sector. Demand for both permanent and temporary workers in the private sector continued to rise strongly in March, albeit at weaker rates than seen in February. In contrast, permanent public sector vacancies declined solidly, while temp worker demand in the sector rose only slightly. 

IT & Computing and Engineering topped the rankings for permanent staff demand at the end of the first quarter. Increased vacancies were also seen across the other monitored sectors, with the exception of Retail. 

Nursing/Medical/Care saw by far the strongest increase in demand for temporary workers during March, with Hotel & Catering in second place. However, Executive & Professional and Retail both saw temp vacancies fall in the latest survey period.

Commenting on the latest survey results, Neil Carberry, Recruitment & Employment Confederation chief executive, said: 

“We have a fantastic labour market that has delivered high employment and flexibility for workers because it helps companies meet their needs easily. It’s a British success story. But Brexit uncertainty has put the brakes on. 

“With business investment rates poor, and little certainty about the path ahead, today’s data shows that the time for political game-playing is over – this situation is beginning to affect people’s daily lives as permanent staff appointments fell, and the growth of temporary jobs and starting salaries weakened.

“We can make this slowdown a blip. Ending the uncertainty around Brexit will help firms invest and create jobs. Firms across the country need a stable plan that tells them where they will be next year – not next week."

On persistent skill shortages in some sectors, Neil added: 

“Two years on from its introduction, the apprenticeship levy has failed to deliver for people building their careers by working on flexible and temporary contracts. It is time this changed – a flexible skills levy that helps firms to invest in every worker would boost productivity and opportunity for temporary and permanent staff alike.” 

The REC is currently conducting a survey on the apprenticeship levy, to aid in our research and campaigning work. We would like all REC members who pay the apprenticeship levy to please give us their feedback and insight on this important issue by completing the survey. 

James Stewart, vice chair at KPMG, said: 

“Brexit has been sapping business confidence for months, and now it is causing the jobs market to grind to a halt. With unclear trading conditions ahead, many companies have decided to hit the pause button on new hires and reduce their dependency on temporary appointments.  

“At the same time we are seeing a flight to safety in the candidate market. Applicant availability has fallen sharply, with the majority of people looking to switch-up or develop their careers concluding now isn’t the right time to abandon the haven of an existing job. The consequence of a sluggish jobs market is a drag on the economy – with poor candidate availability impeding business growth and hampering restructuring efforts.  

“IT recruitment has been slowing for months, but now we’re seeing particularly sharp falls in recruitment activity across financial and professional services. Economic bellwether sectors like retail, construction, hotels and catering are also seeing steep falls in recruitment activity. This along with signs that pay growth is cooling will concern UK economists and investors.”

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IEP in the Community

Posted By Heather Ette, 13 June 2018

IEP visits Shaw Trust New Leicester Hub  

IEP Executive Chairman Scott Parkin FIEP was invited to visit Shaw Trust’s new Hub in Leicester recently. Reflecting on the visit Scott said “Laura very graciously spent her time showing me around and introducing me to those members of the team that were in the Hub that day. As there is now a ‘hot-desking’ format I got to meet a number of interesting key people from the area and all were very generous with their time, explaining how they went about what they do and what it meant to them to be able to work in such a place.

She has a genuine understanding of the dynamics of relationships and her passion to serve and support all Participants as well as possible is clear, striving to deliver an excellent service to all. She explained some of the initiatives that are taking place at present for engagement, attraction and retention purposes; yoga, knitting etc.

I spent some time speaking about the IEP’s aims and vision and met a number of team members including someone working with volunteer mentors who really liked the idea of an ‘Employability Practitioner’ Standard Lite that could be delivered to volunteers to support their learning and development.  I also met a number of Support Managers who were from many different external environments but they complimented each other well with a shared understanding of each and almost every Participant that the Hub served.  The ‘Support Manager’ title (this is due to managing a caseload and not staff)  felt right given their experience and expertise and this can only be a positive direction of travel for the professional view of the sector and those working within it. I also explored the decision that these Support Managers were responsible for developing relationships in their ‘locality’.  This is in line with our ‘Future Adviser’ model and in my opinion is essential for them to become leaders of systems and stakeholder Managers and is absolutely in line with what we have been discussing and presenting for the past couple of years.”

I also met a number of Areas Managers who I believe will continue the drive for service improvement through the opportunities that learning with the IEP brings.  They were all keen to move forward the Membership offer linked to the new Apprenticeship Standard which should be ready very soon.

I believe that Shaw Trust and the Leicester Hub have developed a space that is welcoming, friendly and accessible. A space where it is likely that visits will become more regular, if not just to grab a coffee or engage in an activity (as described above) but these visits will build trust and mean that in the long-term conversations about the movement towards work and the development of skills will be easier. I look forward to a visit to the Birmingham Hub very soon.

I feel this sector has come a long way over the last couple of years and with individual Member, Corporate Affilate Partner and Strategic Partner support there is much more that we can all do. It was a great opportunity to visit and I am grateful for Shaw Trust’s continued support.

Speaking of the IEP’s visit Regional Operations Manager Laura Burroughs said “Thank-you for coming to our Leicester Work and Wellbeing hub, it is indeed very exciting times! I very much appreciate your kind words and support and I am really enthused about your exciting news and very much look forward to working together around IEP Memberships and supporting our staff to develop and excel in being the best they can be, enhancing the support and empowerment for our participants on the WHP”.

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IEP and Empowering-Communities sponsor the Team of the Year Award

Posted By Heather Ette, 02 March 2017

The IEP is delighted to be sponsoring the 2017 ERSA Employability Awards with Empowering-Communities in the “Team of the Year” category

A new category for this year, the Team of the Year Award seeks to recognise a team (comprised of between three and 50 people) which has gone above and beyond what is required of them to ensure their organisation delivers the best possible services for jobseekers and/or those wanting to progress in work.

We are really pleased to be associated with this category as it is central to the IEP’s commitment to developing and supporting a thriving, energetic, creative frontline of skilled and knowledgeable professionals and it allows us to celebrate and champion the fantastic people who work in our sector.

Empowering-Communities, a not for profit social enterprise, are specialists in creating and delivering cloud-based IT solutions that allow teams to share information with their partners to provide holistic approaches to supporting people into employment and, as such, are a perfect fit to be partnering with us as sponsors.

The ERSA Awards are a wonderful opportunity to showcase the work you are doing in helping jobseekers in their journey towards, or into employment and we would encourage you to get your entry in as soon as possible. The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Friday 31st March – so don’t delay!

There is no minimum or maximum number of award categories that any one organisation can enter.  The full Award categories are:

·      Disability and Health Employment – sponsored by Pluss

·      Youth Employment • Innovation – sponsored by entitledto

·      Partner of the Year – sponsored by ICONI

·      Adviser of the Year - sponsored by Alderwood

·      Team of the Year (new for 2017) - in association with IEP and Empowering-Communities

·      Large Employer of the Year - sponsored by Shaw Trust

·      Small or Medium Employer of the Year

·      Significant Achievement - sponsored by Working Links

·      Lifetime Achievement - sponsored by Serco

 Awards finalists will be announced at the ERSA AGM in May, and then by press release. Award winners will be announced at the awards ceremony which will take place in central London in summer 2017 where they will be presented with a commemorative award and certificate. The list of winners will be published and promoted through a variety of media as well as through ERSA's, Empowering-Communities' and the IEP's own communication channels.

For more information about the ERSA Awards including entry criteria and application process please click here


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Great Success for IEP at the IntoWork Convention 2016

Posted By Scott Parkin, IEP Chair, 17 July 2016
Updated: 15 July 2016

Aliens Guide to Health and Work 

by Scott Parkin, IEP Chairman
I arrived at the Convention this year with a little trepidation. Contracts are coming to an end, funding is being reduced, more delivery is expected for less money, customer groups are more complex, there are less details than all would like available about the Work and Health Programme and the development of those that provide services is not keeping pace consistently with this ever changing market place.

IEP has been busy, our reach is increasing to all forms of membership, we are supporting the strategic direction of services by acting as a trusted conduit between the Work and Health Unit and frontline practitioners and we have recently presented both written and verbal evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee on the requirements for JCP to develop their adviser base through formal and informal training and the need to link all elements of the sector through real networking opportunities that develop positive relationships.

The convention was a great success for the IEP, chairing a debate with key thought leaders in the wider sector was an honour and the launch of the new Learning and Work Institute Report on “Halving the Gap; Making the Work and Health Programme work for disabled people" was insightful. Hosting the Aliens Guide event where specialist practitioners from the worlds of employability, social care, healthcare, housing and policy came together to share their views and best practice in the form of a “big conversation” was great fun. To say that debate was heated at times is an understatement but I am told that all went away from the session with greater understanding and a further appreciation of the work that is done across our sector.

IEP engaged with more people than ever and I believe that we have become a trusted place in times good and bad, importantly when the view is that things are not going so well. I had many a conversation with members and non-members and I can honestly say that in general more positivity was shown than maybe there had been in some of the plenaries or breakout sessions.

So with that in mind my advice, for what it is worth, is let’s get on with the job in hand. It will be tough but this is the most imaginative and innovative market place in the world with some truly amazing people. Let’s not lose focus just because we do not have all the pieces of the jigsaw and most importantly let’s make sure that we continue to invest in our workforce because without that we have no hope of delivering excellent services to those people that really need our help.

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Lecturing University Students

Posted By Liz Clutton MIEP, 06 August 2015

LectureIn May 2015 I was invited to deliver a lecture to eighty Global Business Management students at Coventry University London Campus on npowers supply chain management to assist them with their business case study they were working on.

It has been a number of years since I have personally delivered fun and engaging lessons to 3-13 year olds in schools and with my experience of delivering a presentation to 100 delegates at the launch of the IEPs North West Group event in April, I was really keen to take this opportunity to step outside my immediate comfort zone.  

It was great to receive such a clear brief from the lecturer as to the content of my presentation and an insight into the students because I was keen for my first ever lecture to be interesting, useful and meaningful to help them with their studies. Over a couple of weeks I went about my research, developed my presentation and rustled up a few appropriate visual aids. By the night before my lecture I had practised it so much that even my husband could relay parts of my presentation!


I will admit that on the day of the lecture my bottle of Bach Flower Rescue Remedy was my new found best friend and I kept telling myself 'feel the fear and do it anyway'!  I met the lecturers and Carole…… and chatted to a few of the students before we all went into the lecture hall.  Then I was off ... introducing myself, npower, our company structure, our supply chains and triple bottom line, providing an insight into the skills and attitude that npower looks for when recruiting graduates. I asked the students a few questions along the way and showed my visual aids (would you believe that one of them was a big sponge!).

After a Q and A session I had the opportunity to join the students in their groups as they worked on their business supply chain case studies and presentation which they were to deliver the following week.  It was fascinating to see how each group had decided to approach their case study and how they were working as a team and I helped by offering advice and information or by offering a different perspective on how they could approach an aspect of their case study. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and am so pleased that Coventry University London Campus is committed to providing its students with a real insight into business management through its business engagement links.

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