Rise in UK contractor opportunities over last 12 months

Thursday 26 May 2016

The number of opportunities available for UK contractors has increased significantly over the past 12 months, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Data published earlier this month by the organisation showed that there were around 745,000 vacancies being advertised throughout Britain at the end of March, providing plenty of opportunities for limited company and umbrella contractors looking for their next role.

The latest ONS Labour Market Report also reveals that the UK's employment rate has reached a record high, with just under three-quarters (74.2 per cent) of the country's working age population now in some form of job, whether that's in a full-time, permanent position, or as their own boss as a small business or limited company owner.

What's more, the number of women in employment has also reached a new peak, with 69.2 per cent of females now in a job of some kind, according to the latest statistics.

This means that, in total, there are now some 31.58 million people in work throughout the whole of the country, with the national unemployment rate standing at its lowest in ten years at 5.1 per cent thanks to the UK labour market recovering to pre-recession levels, completely surpassing government expectations.

Private sector jobs in particular have become increasingly popular over the past year, possibly because jobseekers are concerned about the level of funding public sector companies will continue to receive if the potential Brexit becomes a reality following next month's EU referendum. In total, there are now 26.2 million people employed in the UK's private sector, marking an increase of 575,000 from 12 months ago.

Stephen Crabb, secretary of state for work and pensions, commented: "These are another record-breaking set of figures, with more people in work than ever before and the unemployment rate is the lowest in a decade at 5.1 per cent.

"More people in work means that more families across the UK are benefiting from the security of a regular wage and the fulfilment that employment brings."

In terms of wages, the ONS data shows that there has been an average 2.1 per cent increase in pay before bonuses across the country over the past 12 months, thanks in part to the introduction of the new National Living Wage in April 2016.

With the EU referendum just around the corner, all eyes are sure to be on the labour market to see how the final Brexit decision impacts employment opportunities, pay packets and trade in the coming months and years.

By Victoria McDonnell

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