More workers are needed as vacancies make a sharp rise in the jobs market, a survey by top Canary Wharf accountants has revealed.

More people were offered permanent placements last month as national lockdown measures were being eased, with numbers rising at the sharpest pace in the 23-year history of the quarterly survey by KPMG consultants and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

The number of people who got permanent jobs in London accelerated from March; it was only matched by the rise recorded back in February 2010.

East London Advertiser: KPMG’s senior partner Anna Purchas... “Engine room of economy starting to power up again.”KPMG’s senior partner Anna Purchas... “Engine room of economy starting to power up again.” (Image: KPMG)

“Business confidence is driving a record high number of permanent recruitments,” KPMG’s senior partner Anna Purchas said. “The engine room of the economy is starting to power up again as London emerges from lockdown hibernation.”

But “businesses will struggle to fill vacancies” unless they commit to training and re-skilling their staff, the UK Report on Jobs survey of 400 London employment consultancies compiled by IHS Markit for KMPG and REC urges.

This includes furloughed staff returning to work as well as widening the range of candidates who are considered.

“Businesses have a role to play in bridging the skills gap that has emerged from the pandemic,” the KPMG chief stressed. “They have to make sure they reach out to all communities.”

New recruits and returning furloughed staff may need "skilling up" in new digital technology and in a post-Brexit economy.

Chief executive of REC, Neil Carberry, warned: “The government must tackle shortfalls of skills and make sure the new immigration system is more responsive to our economic needs.”

The employment confederation nevertheless was optimistic that the economy was turning a corner.

“Many people are still struggling,” Neil added. “But the jobs market is improving at one of the fastest rates we have ever seen. Job creation is firing up again.”

Vacancies rose sharply in April, with demand for permanent staff outpacing temporary gap-filling for a second month running, the fastest rise for seven years.

April was only the second month of increasing job placements since the Covid pandemic began.

Additionally, the Permanent Salaries Index indicated a second straight month of rising salaries for newly-placed permanent staff in London, the quickest recorded for 26 months and above the UK average.

London led the way in permanent salary inflation in April, compared to other regions around the country.