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Fall in contractor number sees permanent placements surge 10 per cent


Fall in contractor number sees permanent placements surge 10 per cent

Permanent placements have gone up by 10% year-on-year, as employers continue to avoid short-term hiring practices despite economic uncertainty, according to new research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) and Staffing Industry Analysts’ Professional recruitment trends report for January 2018, published in last week, revealed that permanent vacancies grew by 0.3 per cent year-on-year, while contractor vacancies dipped 9 per cent.

The highest rise in permanent vacancies was seen among financial services professionals, where roles jumped 16 per cent year-on-year. Finance was also the only industry to record a rise in demand among non-permanent roles. 

The APSCo study looked at the demand for permanent and temporary roles in the engineering, finance, IT, marketing and social work sectors. The study found contractor vacancies for marketeers fell most significantly, by 21 per cent, while IT-based roles slipped by 8 per cent, and contractor vacancies in the engineering sector declined 5 per cent.

The demand for financial professionals in contractor positions, meanwhile, was up 2 per cent year-on-year, though the number of contractors currently on an assignment fell 16 per cent.

Although there were shifts in duration of hires, average salaries dropped 1.2 per cent year-on-year. There were vast sector fluctuations, with the financial services and engineering sectors enjoying salary uplifts of 1.8 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively.

The APSCo figures suggest an even greater overall drop in salary levels than Office for National Statistics (ONS) data from December 2017, which revealed that average weekly earnings in real terms, adjusted for price inflation, dropped 0.2 per cent including bonuses, and 0.4 per cent excluding bonuses, in 2017 compared with 2016. When not adjusted in real terms for price inflation, average weekly earnings including bonuses increased 2.5 per cent.

John Nurthen, Staffing Industry Analysts’ executive director of global research, said there continued to be a “clear split” in demand for skilled professionals. “Staffing firms are finding it easy to place candidates into permanent roles but much more difficult to fill temporary and contract positions.”

Although this split in demand is “most obvious” in the social work and engineering sectors, according to Nurthern, the “tight labour market is likely to continue” for the foreseeable future. 

Ann Swain, chief executive of APSCo, said the market for permanent jobs began the year strongly, with financial services clearly leading the pack in terms of both demand and placements.

“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,” she said.


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