New survey shows vacancies, new appointments and pay for new starters all down markedly in January

Appointments, job vacancies and pay all declined sharply in January, a new report has revealed.

The data, compiled monthly by Markit Economics, also showed that demand for permanent staff fell markedly.

Overall vacancy levels fell for the eighth consecutive month, and at the fastest pace since the survey began in October 1997. Permanent salaries also declined at a series record rate, and pay for temporary jobs fell sharply.

Steep declines in permanent placements and temporary billings were also recorded.

Meanwhile, the availability of staff to fill vacancies continued to rise throughout January, driven by rising numbers of redundancies and fewer job opportunities.

Average salaries for successful candidates placed in permanent jobs also fell for the fourth successive month, the report said.

Mike Stevens, partner and head of business services at KPMG, which sponsored the survey, said: “Yet another month of desperate news on the UK employment front, although there is a perceptible slowing in the rate of decline in permanent placements.

“Most companies are considering redundancy plans. The best employers are already looking at more imaginative ideas, for example by inviting staff to volunteer to reduce pay in return for a shorter working week during the recession.”