Uncertainty over Brexit is continuing to “put the brakes” on employment, with the number of workers placed into jobs by agencies falling at the quickest pace in almost three years, according to a new report.
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said the availability of candidates is also declining “sharply.”
Research among 400 recruitment agencies showed permanent staff appointments fell in March at the quickest rate since the aftermath of the EU referendum result in 2016.
REC chief executive Neil Carberry 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.
“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.”
James Stewart of KPMG, which helped with the research, 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.”