Professional hiring up 9%
This is despite the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), revealing that overall employment levels dipped by 63,000 in the three months to June.
Finance & accounting sectors driving growth
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 (15%, 7%, 1% and 2% respectively). This positive sentiment is in line with recent reports that the UK's inflation rate increased in July, with the Consumer Prices Index measure rising to 0.1% from June's 0%.
The continued rapid growth of the financial and accounting sectors is in keeping with reports from specialist recruitment consultancy Robert Walters, which found that finance job numbers were up 15% in quarter one year-on-year thanks partly to the growth of SME businesses.
Average salaries continue to climb
APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors continue to climb steadily, increasing by 7.5% year-on-year, with engineering and finance, for example, recording uplifts of 6.1% and 7.5% respectively. This rise in remuneration for professionals far exceeds average salary rises reported by the ONS which found that earnings, including bonuses, grew at an annual rate of 2.3% in the three months to June 2015.
Ann Swain, chief executive of APSCo comments, “According to economists, official job figures raise the possibility that the labour market recovery is entering a new phase now the employment rate is close to its record high of 73.5%. The fact that wages are climbing more rapidly than vacancy numbers is indicative of a shift towards the development and retention of star talent as the market becomes more competitive. As the economy continues to show signs of strength, it is likely that productivity levels will begin to recover before we see any rapid increase in vacancy levels. ”
Contract vacancies remain stable
Temporary and contract vacancies remain stable across the professional staffing market with opportunities up by 0.7% across the board year-on-year. Vacancies within finance and accounting are particularly strong, increasing by 11%.
Swain continues, “Despite the fact that employment levels remain close to record highs, there has been no drop in demand for contract professionals. This cements the fact that the flexible workforce is now an essential element to any strategic workforce plan, enabling employers to bring in high-level or niche skill sets that would be near-on impossible to secure on a permanent basis.”
“It is unsurprising that contract vacancies within finance and accounting far exceed average levels as businesses bring on board finance professionals on a contract basis to ensure compliance and boost efficiencies to facilitate growth.”