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EU referendum uncertainty sees UK employment growth slow

Staff writer |
Employment at British companies rose in May but at the slowest rate in eight months due to EU referendum uncertainty and a lack of qualified candidates, recruiters said.

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The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said permanent staff placements continued to rise in May but growth eased to an eight-month low. Temporary contract staff growth also slowed down after a 13-month high in April.

The slowdown in staff appointments came despite robust demand. Vacancies rose in May for permanent and short-term staff.

A rise in minimum wage under the National Living Wage rules in April provided a brief hike in permanent salary growth at the strongest rate in nearly nine years. However, it eased to a 31-month low in May.

The Office of National Statistics said 44,000 jobs were created in the UK in the first quarter of the year, down 195,000 in the last quarter of 2015; nonetheless the proportion of working-age people in jobs is at a record high.

Kevin Green, REC chief executive, said UK businesses are facing candidate shortages in engineering, catering, schools and health care and need staff with the right skills, but employers are reluctant to hire in the run-up to the EU referendum.

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