Professional recruitment firms reported that the number of candidates securing permanent roles in January 2018 increased by 10% year-on-year, according to new survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).
APSCo’s data, which focuses on professional recruitment, reveals that vacancies for permanent staff also remained strong, increasing by 0.3% over the same period. This stability is reflected in the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics which reported in February that UK employment levels now sit at 75.3%, a figure that was higher than a year earlier and the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971.
While overall demand for talent remains resilient, vacancies for finance professionals to work on a permanent basis were particularly strong, jumping by 16% year-on-year.
Contractors out on assignment down
Demand for contractors decreased across many of the trade association’s core sector groups. Vacancies within engineering, for example, slipped by just 5%, while demand within IT and marketing fell more significantly (by 8% and 21% respectively). Finance was the only sector where vacancies for non-permanent roles increased, with demand for contractors up by 2%.
The overall number of contractors out on assignment, meanwhile, dipped by 16% during the same period. This can largely be attributed to a significant 38% year-on-year fall in IT professionals working on a contract basis during this time.
Average salaries stable
APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors dipped by 1.2% year-on-year. This figure is characterised by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with financial services and engineering, for example, recording uplifts of 1.8% and 2.4% respectively.
Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo comments:
“The market for permanent jobs started the year strongly, with financial services clearly leading the pack in terms of both demand and placements. The fact that the Bank of America has extended its London lease for another 10 years in commitment to the UK post-Brexit is indicative of the confidence that is driving this long-term approach to hiring in the sector. Looking forward, with recent research suggesting that financial services is one of the sectors that will be impacted least by Brexit, we expect this positivity to continue.”
John Nurthen, Staffing Industry Analysts’ Executive Director of Global Research commented:
“There continues to be a clear split in demand for skilled professionals as staffing firms are finding it easy to place candidates into permanent roles but much more difficult to fill temporary and contract positions. This schism in demand is most obvious in the social work and engineering sectors. With the latest unemployment rate down in February to 4.4% from 4.8% a year earlier, this tight labour market is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.”