Record high employment and a slowdown of EU workers coming to the UK is making it harder for employers to find staff, particular in London and in the catering industry, new research reveals.

The IHS Markit/REC Report on Jobs found permanent staff placements rose at the softest pace since April at the end of the third quarter.

The number of job vacancies across the UK continued to rise sharply during September, with growth of staff demand edging down only slightly from August’s recent peak.

Growth of permanent placements was the most marked in the Midlands and the South of England, while London signalled a renewed drop in permanent placements - albeit marginal.

Kevin Green, REC chief executive said: “Recruiters are finding it even harder to find people to fill vacancies. Candidate availability has been falling for the past four years and the record high UK employment rate plus a slowdown in the number of EU nationals coming to work here is exacerbating the situation, potentially leaving roles unfilled.

“Across the UK permanent placements are slowing, but London is faring worse with placements declining for the first time in eleven months and the financial sector in particular struggling to recruit for roles such as audit, payroll and risk.

“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. We urge the government to ensure any new immigration system includes provisions for low-skilled and temporary workers so that warehouses, supermarkets and restaurants can access the people they desperately need.”