Recruitment agencies in the North of England signalled the softest increase in permanent staff appointments for over five-and-a-half years in December, according to a new study.
Some respondents to the survey from KPMG indicated that Brexit uncertainty was having a negative effect on both the demand and supply of permanent staff.
Chris Hearld, the Northern Chairman at KPMG, said: “The North is creating a healthy and encouraging volume of new roles, but we might see a two speed market emerging as Brexit approaches.
“While there is still strong growth in permanent vacancies, there seems to be evidence that uncertainty may be weighing down on long term planning, which has softened the pace at which those positions are opening up.
He added: “Business leaders appear to be considering more flexible labour options right now so they can retain capacity, but also respond quickly if trading conditions change significantly.”
The KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs: North of England is compiled by IHS Markit from responses to questionnaires sent to around 100 recruitment and employment consultancies in the North of England.
The study found that permanent staff availability in the North of England continued to fall in December, extending the current sequence of contraction to 71 months.
Across the UK as a whole, permanent labour supply fell for the sixty-eighth month in a row during December, according to the study.
The decline was quicker than that seen in November and sharp overall. At the regional level, permanent staff availability fell at faster rates in the South and North of England, and at weaker rates in London and the Midlands.