LONDON (Reuters) - Growth in the number of workers hired in Britain via recruitment agencies slowed last month and fell in London for the first time in nearly a year as Brexit makes it harder for companies to find staff, a survey showed on Friday.
The IHS Markit/Recruitment and Employment Confederation said permanent roles filled by recruitment firms rose at the weakest pace in five months.
The fall in placements in London reflected recruitment problems facing the financial sector in particular, REC’s monthly Report on Jobs showed.
A slowdown in the number European Union nationals coming to work in Britain had exacerbated a shortage of staff, REC said.
“Low-skill roles are also hard to fill in areas like food processing, warehouses and catering – sectors that employ a higher proportion of people from the EU than others across the economy,” REC chief executive Kevin Green said.
Last month the Bank of England said most of its policymakers believed that interest rates would probably need to rise from a record low in the coming months, if the economy and price pressures keep growing.
The central bank believes Brexit will reduce the number of migrants coming to Britain, pushing up pay and adding to inflation pressure.
The REC survey showed the sharpest fall in candidates for permanent jobs in four months while growth in starting salaries for permanent staff eased only slightly in September from August’s 22-month high.
Recent economic figures have painted a mixed picture of Britain’s economy.
New car registrations are on track for their first annual fall since 2011, while business surveys have shown falling confidence in the economic outlook after a slow first half of the year.
Earlier on Friday, accountancy firm BDO said overall like-for-like store sales rose by an annual 2.9 percent - the biggest rise in more than three years and adding to a smaller rise in August.
However, the increase was distorted by weak sales in September 2016, suggesting underlying growth remained slow.
Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by William Schomberg