Persistent skills gap benefits UK contractors

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Contractors in the UK who are operating in a number of the key contracting disciplines are currently benefiting from a very strong level of demand for their services, it has been reported. 

According to the latest report from Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC)/KPMG, a skills gap in many areas across the country means that companies are increasingly turning to better qualified and highly skilled contractors. Engineering in particular has seen a real rise in demand in recent times, the report states, as the number of skilled employees has seen a particularly steep drop off. 

KPMG partner Bernhard Brown said of the June 2015 jobs report: “The number of skilled workers looking for new roles fell considerably in June, stifling hiring activity and leaving the job market feeling somewhat lethargic.

“This growing skills shortage is cross sector and cross discipline: recruiters are struggling to fill vacancies for everything from software engineers to sales.” This is good news for contractors across the country, though, who find themselves in high demand. 

Although the report states that contractor billings are at an eight-month low, contractors are looking forward to a bright immediate future, with predictions in place that we will be seeing a continued need for their services in key sectors for some time as the number of suitable candidates remains subdued. 

REC Director of Policy Tom Hadley said that as the skills gap becomes wider, there is no slowing down the rate at which vacancies open, as increasingly confident companies continue to hire and look for suitable staff to fill them. 

“Vacancies continue to rise, candidate availability has fallen steeply and we’re seeing this affect the amount of placements being made each month. The concern is that business growth is being constrained," he said.

"Without the right staff it will be very difficult for businesses to keep pace with demand, let alone achieve their long term growth potential,” Mr Hadley continued. 

The good news is that contractors are able to step into these roles, and as the demand from companies for such skilled operatives grows further in the months ahead, rates are likely to increase, giving contractors a far stronger outlook moving forward. 

By Victoria McDonnell

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