LONDON (Reuters) — Hiring of permanent staff via British recruitment firms increased at the slowest pace in six months in March, with employers perturbed by Britain's approaching European Union referendum and the global economy, a survey showed on Friday.
Instead, companies took on temporary staff at the fastest rate since November, according to the latest monthly report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, which said uncertainty was starting to affect the labour market.
"Global economic headwinds plus uncertainty around a possible Brexit make it likely that slower growth in permanent hiring will remain over the next few months as employers take a wait-and-see approach," REC director of policy Tom Hadley said.
"In contrast, temporary hiring is on the up as businesses seek to meet increasing demand while retaining the ability to react quickly to any threats that might be around the corner."
Growth in starting salaries for both permanent and temporary staff quickened for a second month during March, which the REC linked to the imminent introduction of a new, higher minimum wage.
In February, the Bank of England cut its forecast for British wage growth, which Governor Mark Carney named as a key determinant of future interest rates in a speech at the start of the year.