Professional recruitment firms reported that the number of candidates securing permanent roles in June 2018 increased by 9% year-on-year, according to new survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

APSCo’s research, which focuses on professional recruitment, reveals 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 23% and 13% respectively over the 12 month period, the number of marketing professionals securing permanent roles during this time slipped by 11%.

Vacancies for permanent staff, meanwhile, remained largely stable across the board, dipping by just 4% in June 2018.

Financial services remains strong

The number of finance professionals securing permanent roles increased by 13% in the year to June 2018, while the number of contract professionals out on assignment in the sector rose 1% over the same period.

Vacancies for permanent finance professionals during this time grew by 4% while demand for contractors within financial services rose 21%, indicating ongoing strength across the market.

This confidence comes following the announcement that Barclay’s plans to create 2,500 jobs in Glasgow when it moves its technology, functions and operations teams to a new hub on the bank of the Clyde in 2021. This commitment is the latest sign of strength for Scotland’s financial services sector, which is now outstripping London in terms of growth.

IT market goes perm

While the number of IT contractors out on assignment plummeted by 34% year-on-year in June 2018, the number of professionals securing permanent roles in the sector increased by 23% during the same period.

Demand for permanent professionals also rose by 7% in the 12 months to June, while vacancies for IT contractors flat-lined – falling by 0.1% year-on-year.

This shift in focus can almost certainly be attributed to recent changes to off-payroll working in the public sector, and ongoing uncertainty around if and when IR35 reforms will be extended to the private sector. A recent survey conducted by IPSE and the CIPD found that 71 per cent of public sector hiring managers were struggling to hold on to their contractors as a result of the changes.

Contract market slow

Aside from ongoing demand for finance interims, overall contract vacancies dipped by 8% year-on-year in June 2018. The overall number of contractors out on assignment, meanwhile, dipped by 17% during the same period.

This decrease can largely be attributed to a significant 34% year-on-year fall in IT professionals working on a contract basis during this time. However, the number of marketing and engineering professionals on assignment also dipped in June 2018, falling by 17% and 9% respectively.

Average salaries stable

APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors increased by 1% year-on-year. This figure is characterised by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with insurance, for example, recording an uplift of 4.4% while banking salaries dipped by 5.2%.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo comments:

“Considering the level of uncertainty that the UK continues to contend with, the current strength of the professional jobs market is a positive indicator of wider resilience. Economic growth is better than expected, overall employment levels are at a record high and the signs are now positive that the AI revolution is creating more jobs than it is destroying. 

“However, there is no doubt that the present picture is far from stable. While financial services, for example, is strong for now, future growth will likely depend on whether the UK successfully negotiates advanced equivalence post-Brexit. Furthermore, with the current consultation on off-payroll working in the private sector still open, we are yet to see how the contractor market will react to any incoming changes.”

John Nurthen, Staffing Industry Analysts’ Executive Director of Global Research commented:

“The decline in professional vacancies has continued in June, though the drop in permanent vacancies is quite marginal compared to the decline in temporary / contractor roles indicating that the UK job market is actually in a reasonable condition. And confidence, however, will likely prove fragile if the government is unable to prevent Brexit negotiations becoming more fraught during the second half of the year.”