IT and engineering contractor demand keeps rising

Friday 30 January 2015

Demand for highly-skilled IT and engineering contractors is continuing to rise as the talent shortage bites.

This is according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) Jobs Outlook for December 2014. People with the right IT and engineering skills are particularly difficult to find and one in five clients believe that this lack of talent will keep getting worse.

At present, contractor clients are mainly using contractors to support growth plans as well as using them as a source of short-term access to key strategic skills. Seventy-one per cent said that they use agency workers to respond to growth.

Chief executive of the REC Kevin Green said: "Businesses are increasingly thinking about expanding their numbers and many are telling us that they can’t take on more work without more staff. At the same time, the UK is suffering from skills shortages across the economy and it’s getting harder for hirers to attract and retain the talent they need.

"Employers should seek to improve recruitment practices and tap into talent pools that might have been overlooked. For example, we have one million 50 to 64 year olds who have been made redundant in the UK, and that’s a huge amount of skill and experience that businesses could benefit from to help meet demand."

The REC has also advised employers to look at ways that they can encourage older people to apply for work, considering such areas as the language that they use in job adverstisements.

The survey showed that 43 per cent of employers are intending to take on more temporary workers over the next three months and that 46 per cent are planning to employ this type of staff over the next four to 12 months.

A majority of employers are looking to hire permanent staff in the future, partly because a lot of employers say they have either no or very little spare capacity to increase business, with 93 per cent stating this.

It is microbusinesses who are fueling the demand for permanent staff most as 74 per cent say they are intending to take on staff over the next three months, compared to only 29 per cent who, 12 months ago, said that this was what they wanted to do.

Speaking about the REC's latest Jobs Outlook survey, chief executive officer Dave Chaplin predicted that the upcoming general election would help to fuel demand for contractors. He said that this is because businesses are facing a lot of uncertainty and risk as they await the results of the general election in May. Therefore, he believes, it is likely that they will not strive to hire permanent staff prior to the election and they will use contractors to fill the gap until then.


By Victoria McDonnell

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