Contractor vacancies grow but candidate shortage continues

Friday 8 August 2014

Professional temporary and contract vacancies are increasing strongly, growing eight per cent, according to new figures from APSCo.

However, candidate availability is continuing to be a problem, meaning some contractors have more work than they can deal with.

This might be a good thing for the self-employed but for businesses, there is mounting concern that they will not be able to access the skills they need to grow.

Andrew Fahey, commercial director at Brookson, said: "It's great news that we're seeing demand for contractors grow and it's a further testament to how important the flexible workforce is for British business.

"However, companies are becoming more and more concerned that their growth will be impeded by an inability to access the skills they need. Contractor availability is on the decline and if businesses want to ensure they can attract talent, they'll need to offer a competitive package. This is about more than just pay and it's important to bear in mind that contractors are looking for rewarding work."

Permanent workers are also seeing demand for their services rise and professional recruitment firms have noted a 20 per cent rise in vacancies on their books overall. Permanent vacancies have increased across engineering, IT, accounting and finance, social work, and media and marketing sectors year-on-year.

Engineering, IT and accounting and finance enjoyed strong rises of 35 per cent, 22 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

According to APSCo, this is the first time the IT sector has recorded such impressive growth within the survey, supporting recent reports showing considerable expansion in the sector.

Median salaries have also been growing, increasing by 1.3 per cent year-on-year on average.  Wage growth broke this barrier in the IT, engineering and finance sectors, however, hitting 1.4 per cent, 11.1 per cent and 5.5 per cent growth respectively.

APSCo claims this is a result of the skills shortage and pressure on employers to entice candidates by paying more.

Ann Swain, chief executive of APSCo, said: "The latest GDP predictions, coupled with the recent reports that Britain's recovery has pushed the economy past its pre-crisis peak, sets the stage for a fruitful few months for professional jobseekers and recruitment firms alike.

"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."

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) also reported strong growth in job opportunities in the 'Recruitment market watch'. With the Office for National Statistics noting that the number of people in work stood at 30.54 million in February to April 2014, the REC claims this shows the number of people in work grew by 345,000 compared to the previous period, November to January 2014.

In the June JobsOutlook survey from the REC it was also revealed that four in five employers intend to increase their permanent headcounts over the next quarter.

By Victoria McDonnell

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