REC: Growth in temporary positions on the up

Thursday 8 June 2017

Growth in temporary work positions rose across the UK last month, a new study has found.
Research from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) found that temporary billings recorded their largest jump since March 2015. The rate of expansion for both permanent and temporary staff was also the fastest in 25 months.

The availability of permanent and temporary candidates also fell during May, with permanent candidate availability dropping at the fastest speed since August 2015. With regard to temporary staff, availability dropped slightly since April. 

May also saw average starting salaries for those in permanent jobs rise at the fastest rate in three months, while hourly rates of pay for temporary/contract staff went up despite a drop in the speed of growth.

In terms of individual sectors, demand for workers in the private sector stayed steady in May, while more employers were looking for temporary employees. 

For the public sector, May’s figures show more demand for permanent and temporary professionals. Nursing and medical care were the most in-demand industries for short-term staff in May, though significant growth was recorded in all categories.

Self employed workers continue to provide a boost to the UK economy, with many businesses choosing to use specialised freelancers rather than training new personnel. 

As earnings can change rapidly month-to-month, it’s important that self employed workers keep their financial information up to date. 

To make the most of their earnings, those working for themselves should hire freelancer and contractor accountants to ensure they are being taxed appropriately. 

Tom Hadley, REC director of policy, said: “The challenges facing the next government are stark. Demand for staff is the strongest in almost two years, but the number of people available to take those jobs has plummeted. 

“Official data shows unemployment has dropped to the lowest level since 1975, and EU citizens are leaving the UK in droves. Employers seeking to fill vacancies are running out of options.”

Mr Hadley went on to say that skill shortages are causing issues in a number of sectors, with the NHS in particular becoming especially dependent on short-term cover in order to fill resource gaps. 

He explained that whichever party makes up the next government needs to focus on boosting the employability of young people, as well as improving inclusion for groups underrepresented in certain sectors.

For many industries, more talented personnel are required rather than fewer, Mr Hadley emphasised. 

By Victoria McDonnell

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