Contractor demand up 8% in 2014

Thursday 14 August 2014

It seems that demand for contractors is on the increase as new research shows that professional temporary and contract vacancies are up by eight per cent compared to 2013.

A survey from APSCo, which was independently validated by Staffing Industry Analysts, shows that this is part of a rise in both permanent and temporary jobs across a variety of sectors.

The research follows on from Treasury growth forecasts that the UK will grow month on month. GDP growth is now predicted to total 3.1 per cent for 2014, which is up from a predicted increase of 1.8 per cent at the start of the year.

Permanent staff placements have also been on the increase, seeing 20 per cent year on year growth and pointing to pre-crisis growth in the job market.

This employment growth has been seen across the engineering, IT, accounting and finance, social work, media and marketing sectors. The former three lead growth at 35 per cent, 22 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

APSCo noted that this is the first time IT has shown such strong levels of growth, while engineering and accounting continued at the forefront of the charge.

This year, IT firms are expecting to see more business activity as demonstrated in the KPMG/Markit Tech Monitor.

However, experts are concerned that employment could be hampered by a lack of candidates with the right skills for the role.

Chief executive of APSCo Ann Swain said: "This month is the first time that APSCo’s sector groups have all posted fantastic growth figures – the only hurdle in site would be a candidate shortage which could scupper this should employers not take note and strongly evaluate not only their attraction strategies, but also their Employee Value Proposition offering.”

This point was also echoed by director of international research for Staffing Industry Analysts Adam Poole: "With UK output finally back above its pre-crisis levels, confidence has definitely returned to the market place. This means employers are more likely to increase their permanent work force, if and it is a big if, they can find staff with the right skills.”

Indeed, this seems to be an area within which businesses are struggling when it comes to hiring contractors too.

According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the amount of skills that are in short supply in the contract market are higher than that of the permanent market. This was revealed in the July Report on Jobs and marks the first time this has happened this year.

There are seven IT skills that seem to be lacking among contractors while there are five that are uncommon among permanent workers.

The number of scarce IT skills demonstrated by contractors is double that which was reported in June, when only eCommerce, Development, Java and SQL were lacking. Now eCommerce skills are more readily available among contractors, but the rest of the list is in short supply and is joined by PHP, .Net, Business Intelligence and Architecture.

By Victoria McDonnell

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