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UK brain drain triggers finance skills shortage

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Employment growth and UK brain drain triggers accounting and finance skills shortage. Finance and accounting vacancies experiencing spectacular rebound. UK facing brain drain of middle class professionals. Permanent professional sector vacancies showing signs of sustained recovery.

Permanent placements and vacancies continue to show signs of a sustained recovery with rises for the third month in a row according to the latest trends report from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) which analyses vacancies and placements across the UK professional staffing sector. The year on year decline rate has receded further and month on month there has been a 1.4 percent increase in placements. Despite the holiday period when hiring historically slows down, the professional sectors of marketing, engineering and IT have all shown an average 1.5 percent rises in vacancies month on month.

Demand for accounting and finance skills has risen exponentially in the last quarter and APSCo members report a 7.5 percent increase in accounting and finance placements compared with this time last year with vacancies showing an average 3 percent rise every month over the last three months. According to online data, there was a 15 percent year on year increase in finance and accounting vacancies advertised during July and August across the UK and according to recent research carried out by APSCo member Randstad, the UK faces a shortfall of 10,200 qualified accountants by 2050 due to skills shortages, an ageing workforce and restrictive migration policy.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo comments: “The recent positive economic data – coupled with marked fall in unemployment is adding fuel to the growing skills shortages employers are experiencing. While this skills gap was surpressed early in the recession, it is now coming home to roost in the professional sector and our members are reporting shortages of suitably qualified professionals not only in the accounting and finance arena but also in sectors such as IT, engineering and marketing. The skills shortages have always been there but as the recovery gains pace and employers have more confidence to hire, we could be facing a real problem.”

APSCo says it is seeing increasing shortages in the engineering and construction sectors with an average 39 percent year on year growth in online advertised permanent vacancies. IT vacancy advertisements have risen by 10 percent year on year while marketing media and creative job openings are up by an average of 15 percent. The temporary market is also busy with online advertising up 17 percent year on year across professional sectors. APSCo says that recent OECD figures which show that almost 1.3 million Britons with university level education are now living abroad will add to the skill shortage issue.

“We are living in an era of the globally mobile professional,” and so UK employers are not just competing with each other – they are having to compete on a world stage particularly in the areas of engineering and technology in growth economies within the Far and Middle East – now that we are seeing growth in the UK economy we need to entice our professionals to stay here and help sustain that growth – otherwise we could be in a situation where the vacancy supply and demand chain becomes untenable.”

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