REC: UK is entering a candidate-driven market

Friday 3 January 2014

Sole trader registration or joining an umbrella company could be a smart move as the UK enters a candidate-driven market.

According to a statement by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the current lack of skills has created an environment that lies largely in favour of job-seekers, would-be employees and independent contractor professionals.

Indeed, in 2014, this will be one of the major challenges for the recruitment industry.

"At the beginning of 2013 the REC/KPMG Report on Jobs showed 14 areas of skill shortage and as we start 2014, the number has risen to 47 and is accelerating month on month," the REC explained.

"This means we are re-entering a candidate driven market. Successful recruiters in these markets will need to develop content that attracts this scarce talent while then building meaningful relationships that keeps the talent close."

However, there are opportunities to be had for recruitment firms and the REC predicts the next 12 months will be filled with opportunity.

This is thanks to the strengthening economy, with GDP expected to grow by over two per cent.

"We are forecasting that the UK recruitment market will see accelerating growth with the first quarter growing at about seven per cent, followed by the market picking up to above eight per cent across the latter part of 2014," the REC explained.

However, the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey claims employers will still be cautious when it comes to hiring.

It revealed that continued economic uncertainty and disruption will cause businesses to "tread gently" when taking on workers, despite having a relatively limited impact on companies.

Yet, globally, hiring is certainly back on the cards. Employers in 34 of 42 countries and territories expect to increase payrolls in the next three months, compared to just 29 in Q4 2013.

Darryl Green, ManpowerGroup president, said: "The eurozone recovery remains tepid but employers in the region continue to show signs of cautious optimism. Crucially, Germany shows stability but talent shortages there are a recurring theme and recruitment strategies need to be adjusted accordingly to embrace flexibility.

"Meanwhile, the UK unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in more than three years but the high number of people in part-time work means that serious challenges remain."

Among G7 countries, hiring should remain relatively stable, with employers intending to add to their payrolls but in a more modest rate than that experienced prior to the recession.

Consequently, contractors are likely to encounter pools of marginally positive hiring intent.

Oil and gas is one area where demand for professionals is likely to be high. Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce's 19th Oil and Gas Survey recently revealed that companies in the UK are struggling to find the talent they need, harming growth in Scotland.

Indeed, more than two out of three contracting companies and 70 per cent of operators cited recruitment and retention as a major challenge.

It is clear candidates are starting to call the shots in the industry and international demand has certainly helped to level the playing field.

In fact, 50 per cent of companies in the oil and gas sector said they had lost staff, at least partially, as a result of workers moving to international oil hotspots.

By Victoria McDonnell

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