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Financial services leads the way, APSCo research finds

This is in line with the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which reveals that overall employment levels increased, by 140,000 in the three months to August.

Finance & accounting sectors driving growth

The latest data from APSCo reveals that growth in the professional recruitment market continues to climb across many of the trade association’s core sector groups. Permanent vacancies across finance & accounting, IT and media & marketing are all up year-on-year (17%, 3%, and 1% respectively). This positive sentiment is in line with recent reports that UK business investment reached 11% of GDP in the second quarter of 2015, the highest level since the end of 2000.  

The continued boom of the financial and accounting sectors is mirrored by the latest report from independent membership body TheCityUK, which found that growth in the financial services sector has pushed employment in the City to a record high, with 15,500 new jobs created in the first half of 2015.

Average salaries continue to climb

APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors continue to climb steadily, increasing by 4.6% year-on-year. This figure is characterised by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with banking and financial services, for example, recording uplifts of 14.7% and 10.6% respectively. This rise in remuneration within the professional arena exceeds the national increase in salaries as reported by the ONS which found that average earnings grew at an annual rate of 3% in the three months to August 2015.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo comments:

“As we predicted, employment levels have continued to climb. In fact, the size of the UK workforce is now at an all-time record high. Cuts in corporation tax, increasing availability of low-cost finance, and cheaper energy have all contributed to this growth in confidence, and with the EY Item Club forecasting that business investment will rise by an average of 6.4% annually until 2019, this trend shows no sign of abating.”

“Market positivity is reflected in the fact that salaries continue to climb across the board, but wage growth within financial services has been truly phenomenal. Acute talent shortages are putting an upward pressure on salaries as banks struggle to bring on board the people they need to simultaneously manage growth, incoming ring-fencing rules, ever-increasing legislation, retail branch transformation and a migration to digital banking. The Big Four accounting firms are also ramping up recruitment as they concentrate business development efforts on growing areas such as cybersecurity and regulatory consulting.”

Contract vacancies remain stable

Temporary and contract vacancies remain stable across the professional staffing market with opportunities up by 1% year-on-year. Vacancies within finance and accounting were particularly strong, increasing by 21%.

Swain continues

“The perpetual war for talent means that contract vacancies are consistently strong, despite an increase in permanent roles. Contract vacancies within finance and accounting are particularly high as financial institutions bring on board niche-skill sets on a project basis to manage change. Monumental shifts in the UK banking sector, such as impending ring-fencing legislation, structural reorganisation and changes in customer behaviour mean that specialists are needed to ensure that the sector is future-fit. There is simply not the supply to fulfil demand.” 


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