According to latest figures, professional hiring is up 9% in the UK – with the finance and accounting industries leading the charge.
The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has released new survey data and says professional recruitment firms now have 9% more vacancies on their books than this time last year.
It says this is at odds with the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) latest data, which earlier revealed that overall employment levels dipped by 63,000 in the three months to June.
Its key findings show the following:
• Permanent vacancies have increased 9% year-on-year
• Finance are accounting roles are up by 15%
• Contract vacancies remain stable
• Average salaries continue to climb, having increased by 7.5%
According to APSCo, vacancies across finance and accounting, IT, engineering and media & marketing are all up year-on-year having risen by 15%, 7%, 1% and 2% respectively.
It says this positive “sentiment” is in line with recent reports that the UK’s inflation rate increased in July, with the Consumer Prices Index measure rising to 0.1% from June’s 0%.
APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors continue to climb steadily, increasing by 7.5% year-on-year, with engineering and finance, for example, recording uplifts of 6.1% and 7.5% respectively.
This rise in remuneration for professionals far exceeds average salary rises reported by the ONS which found that earnings, including bonuses, grew at an annual rate of 2.3% in the three months to June 2015.
APSCo chief executive Ann Swain said: “According to economists, official job figures raise the possibility that the labour market recovery is entering a new phase now the employment rate is close to its record high of 73.5 per cent. The fact that wages are climbing more rapidly than vacancy numbers is indicative of a shift towards the development and retention of star talent as the market becomes more competitive. As the economy continues to show signs of strength, it is likely that productivity levels will begin to recover before we see any rapid increase in vacancy levels.
“Despite the fact that employment levels remain close to record highs, there has been no drop in demand for contract professionals. This cements the fact that the flexible workforce is now an essential element to any strategic workforce plan, enabling employers to bring in high-level or niche skill sets that would be near-on impossible to secure on a permanent basis.”
“It is unsurprising that contract vacancies within finance and accounting far exceed average levels as businesses bring on board finance professionals on a contract basis to ensure compliance and boost efficiencies to facilitate growth.”
John Nurthen, executive director of Global Research for Staffing Industry Analysts, which compiled the report for APSCo, added: “The good news about jobs growth in the Finance and accounting sector comes at the same time that financial markets have become increasingly nervous about the economic news coming out of China and other emerging economies.
“We live in a global economy where job demand in the City of London is impacted by falling factory output in Shanghai. Whether or not this nervousness will lead to more serious economic woes for the UK remains to be seen but it does highlight the precarious nature of the job market as well as underlining the importance of contract professionals in affording employers with flexibility in times of uncertainty.”