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Professional hiring up 16 percent

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Permanent vacancies increase 16 percent year-on-year; Finance & accounting sectors show strong signs of growth; Contract vacancies rise by 3 percent year-on-year
Average salaries climb, increasing by 2.9 percent.

Professional recruitment firms now have 16 percent more vacancies on their books than this time last year according to new survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo). APSCo’s data coincides with the latest ONS figures which show that the number of people in work increased by 202,000 in the three months to March, driving UK employment to a record-high of 31.10 million. The latest data from APSCo reveals that year-on-year growth in the professional staffing market continues to climb across all of the trade association’s core sector groups. Permanent vacancies across finance & accounting, are particularly strong, increasing by 11 percent year-on-year.

The rapid growth of the financial and accounting sectors, which APSCo has reported in recent months, is in keeping with a reports from recruitment consultancy Astbury Marsden which found that job vacancies at London’s financial-services companies jumped by more than a third last month as firms sought more dealmakers to manage M&A activity. APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors continue to climb steadily, increasing by 2.9 percent year-on-year. This figure is characterised by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with engineering and finance, for example, recording uplifts of 7.3 percent and 2.3 percent respectively. This rise in remuneration is mirrored by statistics from the ONS which reported that average earnings grew at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the three months to February 2015.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo comments: “The continued rise in employment levels, and associated positivity in the market, is almost tangible to those working within the recruitment profession. It’s no surprise that finance and accounting vacancies remain strong – according to a recent report published by the House of Commons, financial and insurance services contributed £126.9 billion to the UK economy last year. Greater stability post-election – indicated by the fact that brokers are confident that HSBC and Standard Chartered are not set to leave London in the immediate future – means that this upward trend looks set to continue.”

Temporary and contract vacancies remain strong across the professional staffing market with opportunities up by 3 percent across the board year-on-year. Vacancies in media & marketing are particularly strong, increasing by 9 percent. This ongoing trend towards the use of contract professionals is reflected in new research from the Interim Management Association (IMA), which found that the use of interims has grown by 93 percent since the pre-recession levels of 2006, with 16,000 senior interims currently working in the UK. Swain continues; “APSCo has long witnessed a shifting tide towards a professional flexible workforce, so it is unsurprising that the IMA predicts that the interim sector is tipped to become a £2 billion market in 2015. Organisations are increasingly turning to professional contractors when bringing on board senior talent as a means of harnessing first-rate skills and experience without the associated permeant headcount costs.”

Adam Pode, Director of International Research and Analysis for Staffing Industry Analysts, which compiles the report for APSCo, comments: “Neither the election, concerns about productivity nor the potential “Brexit” have greatly dampened the market. In the permanent arena which accounts for more than three-quarters of increased employment since 2009, growth is being sustained by the Finance & Accounting sector and the figures from Innovantage seem to indicate that it is a Goldilocks market – neither too hot or too cold. Temporary placements are in positive territory for all the sectors this report covers except for Media and Marketing. Demand for temporary retail positions is particularly strong according to Innovantage. The headline weekly wage has been creeping up, but this has not fed through to the Pharmaceutical, Science and Research, Social Care and Telecommunications sectors according to data from Broadbean where salaries on offer have fallen by more than 10 percent. As the Government’s policy becomes clearer over the next couple of months, it will be interesting to see what impact this has on both temporary and permanent recruitment.”

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