February looking good for contractors

Monday 1 February 2016

The current state of businesses in the UK is proving to be very beneficial to contractors of all kinds, according to the latest report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). WIth With employers more and more in need of skilled workers, temporary staff have been able to fill a clear gap in the market.

This information comes from REC's monthly JobsOutlook survey. The most recent of these publications, for January 2016, has shown that the economy seems to be improving and businesses are looking to hire. However, few have found themselves able to take on permanent staff.

Out of all the 600 firms surveyed, 94 per cent said they were operating on limited capacity to take on additional work. This means that they will need to increase their workforce. However, while 83 per cent say they are looking to hire new staff, the reality of the jobs market might make that difficult.

Because of the specific skills needed for certain jobs, it can be difficult for firms to find permanent staff to meet their needs. It is because of this that the outlook is positive for contractors, who are able to provide the temporary skillset that other businesses need to take on more work.

That work seems likely to be forthcoming. Eight out of ten of the companies surveyed said that economic conditions are improving. This improving economy is leading to an increase in conditions for businesses, which are in turn looking to take on additional jobs to take advantage.

Some 82 per cent of those surveyed said they would utilise temporary workers in order to "access key strategic skills". Businesses appear to be becoming more dependent on contractors, with 48 per cent planning to increase the amount they use temporary staff and just one per cent planning to decrease their use.

This is also positive financially. Contractors can expect generous wages, with 97 per cent of the firms surveyed saying that temporary workers will earn more or the same as they would if they were in permanent roles.

Certain sectors have more need than other for contractors, of course. The most pressing need is in the engineering sector, while temporary workers are also highly sought-after in the driving and distribution industry as well as for management positions.

Tom Hadley, director of policy at REC, said: "Businesses want to hire so that they can take on more work. But with fewer candidates available, employers need to take a thoughtful approach to bring in the skills they need."

By Victoria McDonnell

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