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Professional hiring saw strong growth during 2015

Professional recruitment firms saw a 9% annual increase in temporary placements for 2015 and a 4% increase in permanent placements, according to new survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) and Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA).  

 

This is in line with the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which revealed that overall employment levels increased by over half a million year-on-year. The growth in demand for a professional flexible workforce is underlined by PWC’s (PricewaterhouseCoopers) latest Future of Work Report, which revealed that almost half of HR professionals expect at least 20% of their workforce to be made up of contractors or temporary workers by 2020, with almost a third saying that talent management strategies are being built around the growth of portfolio careers.

 

Ann Swain, chief executive of APSCo, commented, “The UK’s reliance on the flexible workforce shows no sign of abating and it is clear that UK economic growth and global competitiveness depends on the continued flexibility of its labour market. The professional recruitment sector is an increasingly vital element of that flexible market as demand for talent intensifies. As the pace of technology increases, fluid labour will become vital. The nature of work is changing and the employment landscape is no longer made up of a homogenous group but now contains many different types of engagement and motivations for working outside the traditional employed model.”

 

APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors continue to hold steady with a rise of 4.6% compared with 2014. There are fluctuations dependent on sector, such as the big uptick in financial services pay, but most professional sectors showed increases such as sales (6.2%), engineering (3.7%), IT (2.4%) and marketing (0.6%).

 

Swain said, “It’s clear that, in many professional sectors, skill shortages are still acute, resulting in upward pressure on pay levels and the growth in salaries is obviously good news against a backdrop of historically low inflation. However, as the ONS reported earlier in the month, pay increases have slowed in the last quarter and while the outlook for 2016 remains unclear, we are seeing current demand continuing to increase with permanent vacancies up 5% month on month and temporary vacancies up 2%.”

 

Year-on-year, finance and accounting placements were up by 15% (permanent) and 8.6% (temporary) while demand continued to outstrip supply with vacancy levels for the same period up 17.5% and 51.2% respectively.  This is reflected in salary levels for this sector, which saw average rises of almost 10%.

 

While in 2014 demand for engineering professionals was at a peak, APSCo says its members have seen slow decline with permanent vacancies down year-on-year by 9.2% and temporary roles falling by 5.9%, which may have been driven by the fall in oil and gas prices.

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