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UK – PERMANENT PLACEMENTS UP IN AUGUST, BUT DEMAND FOR TALENT SLIPS SLIGHTLY

Professional recruitment firms reported that the number of candidates securing permanent roles in August 2018 increased by 10% year-on-year, according to new survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

The research found notable variations between the trade association’s core sector groups in terms of hiring activity. While permanent placements within IT and financial services increased by 46% and 6% respectively over the 12-month period, the number of engineering professionals securing permanent roles during this time slipped by 2%.

Meanwhile, vacancies for permanent staff fell by 2% in August 2018. 

Demand for contractors continued to slow in August 2018, with vacancies decreasing by 6% across the board. The number of contractors out on assignment in August 2018 was 14% lower than the previous year.

John Nurthen, Staffing Industry Analysts’ Executive Director of Global Research commented, “Professional staffing firms have received fewer vacancies for both permanent and temporary/contract jobs compared to last year. While they have managed to make up for this drop in demand by identifying more candidates for permanent roles compared to last year (placements are actually up 10%), temporary/contract placements are down by 14% showing that supply is even weaker than demand.”

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo also commented, “The big success story this month is permanent IT placements, which have increased almost 50% year-on-year. While much of this activity can be attributed to a fall in the use of IT contractors, permanent placements still far outstrip this drop. It seems that, against the current backdrop, businesses are locking in vital skills that are becoming increasingly harder to source on a contingent basis.”

Despite the overall dip, the contract market within financial services remains strong with demand for non-permanent professionals up 26% year-on-year across the sector. The number of finance contractors out on assignment increased by 6% in August 2018.

According to APSCo, the heightened demand for contractors within financial services can likely be attributed to employers being unwilling to bring on board permanent talent amid Brexit uncertainty.

While demand for permanent professionals dipped by 2% across the board, vacancies for IT professionals increased by 8% year-on-year in August 2018. Similarly, while contract vacancies slipped by 6%, vacancies for IT contractors rose by 3%.

The number of IT contractors out on assignment in August 2018 was 30% lower than August 2017, which can largely be attributed to recent changes - and further anticipated amendments - to IR35 legislation making non-permanent employment a less attractive choice for talent and employers alike. However, when compared against a 46% year-on-year rise in permanent placements, it is evident that the IT market remains particularly strong. 

APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors remained flat in August 2018. Despite no increase overall, there are notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with accountancy and engineering recording uplifts of 2.4% and 1.3%, respectively.

Source: staffingindustry.com