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Professional hiring up 12% as income tax receipts reach record high

This is despite the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), revealing that overall employment levels dipped by 67,000 in the three months to May 2015.

Finance & accounting sectors thriving

The latest data from APSCo reveals that growth in the professional staffing market continues to climb across all of the trade association’s core sector groups. Permanent vacancies across finance & accounting, IT, engineering and media & marketing are all up year-on-year (13%, 11%, 7% and 1% respectively). This positive sentiment is in line with recent figures released by the ONS which show that income tax receipts rose to &pound11.5bn in June as wages climbed.”

The continuing rapid growth of the financial and accounting sectors is in keeping with reports from recruitment consultancy Morgan McKinley which found the number of new London financial services job vacancies in June was up 56% from May after a sharp dip during the General Election period.

Average salaries continue to climb

APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors continue to climb steadily, increasing by 6.2% year-on-year, with engineering and finance, for example, recording uplifts of 6.6% and 5.5% respectively. This rise in remuneration for professionals exceeds average salary rises reported by the ONS which found that earnings, including bonuses, grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in the three months to May 2015.

Ann Swain, chief executive of APSCo comments, “Behind reports that national employment levels have fallen quarterly for the first time in over two years, it is worth remembering that, as a percentage, the employment rate is down by just 0.1%. APSCo’s data is more representative of what the recruitment profession has witnessed of late: greater market stability and confidence in hiring, particularly within the professional sectors. The annual growth in tax receipts is indicative of the strength in the labour market, particularly strong wage growth.”

Swain continues, “The fact that wages have risen so significantly is a sure sign that market confidence is soaring. Organisations are scrambling to get their hands on the brightest talent, and only those that can offer attractive remuneration packages stand a fighting chance. The CBI’s latest growth indicator found that economic expansion in the three months to May reached its strongest rate since the same month last year, and as companies reach their saturation point in terms of output, they will face a choice between bringing on board more talent or stunting their own growth prospects.”

Contract vacancies remain resilient

Temporary and contract vacancies remain steady across the professional staffing market with opportunities up by 1% across the board year-on-year. Vacancies within finance and accounting are particularly strong, increasing by 9%.

“Contract vacancies within finance and accounting remain strong as organisations bring on board compliance specialists on a project basis to help manage legislation. Members are telling us that the new UKGAAP financial reporting standard, which came into effect in January this year, is currently creating unprecedented demand for accountants specialising in derivatives.

“Widely publicised UK job cuts within financial services, such as those announced by HSBC and Barclays in recent weeks, look set to create further demand in the area as contractors are brought on board to cover gaps left by the loss of permanent positions.”

John Nurthen, executive director, global research for Staffing Industry Analysts, which compiles the report for APSCo, comments, “The data for this month suggests that the professional recruitment market is continuing to perform well. Recruiters are now benefitting from escalating demand after many years focusing purely on minimising costs. Such solid growth in median salaries across all professional sectors may indicate the beginning of a period of wage inflation. Businesses will have to adapt accordingly given that wage growth has been subdued for such a long period.”

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