Stage is set for sustained 2014 jobs recovery

• Professional jobs market rebounding strongly – placements up 8.5% year on year

• Permanent vacancy levels up across all professional sectors
• Online job advertisements in professional sector up by 25%

Consistently positive GDP figures are fuelling a real and sustained recovery in the professional jobs market. The latest data from The Association of Professional Staffing Companies ( APSCo) reveals, for the first time an upturn across every sector of the professional jobs market and some notable hotspots in the professional temporary and contract sector.

Professional sectors – strong growth across the board

Permanent placements were up 8.5% year on year across sectors such as engineering, IT, accounting, finance, media and marketing. Vacancies, measured by online advertising activity, were up by 25% indicating a real confidence to hire by UK employers.

This jobs recovery is a far cry from the beginning of 2013 when APSCo was reporting a drop of 1% in both placements and vacancies. In the temporary and contract sector accounting and finance performed particularly well with placements up by a massive 25% since the beginning of the year and the picture is continuing to improve for IT contractors with advertised vacancy levels for longer term contracts rising by 22% year on year. This trend is confirmed by interim and contract specialist recruiter Venn Group whose own index of hiring activity in the temporary and contract sector shows an overall increase of 17% in contract and interim vacancies across the UK.

Permanent roles are also rising at a faster rate than temporary vacancies. Recent ONS data shows that the rate of temporary workers as a percentage of all employees was 6.2% which is a slight decrease compared with last year.

John Nurthen, Executive Director International Development of Staffing Industry Analysts who compile and analyse the data for APSCo commented, “It’s good to finish the year on a high, especially after such a sustained period of sluggish growth. Many staffing company executives are starting to sound positively bullish about the prospects for 2014 and it’s not surprising given the latest UK data we see across the whole industry.”

Salaries on the up

The latest online salary levels, collated from data from online job advertising shows a median increase of 1.4% compared with the same time last year. The highest three month rolling averages were in banking – mainly due to some institutions restructuring remuneration packages in preparation for the bonus cap – and marketing/ media – driven by an ongoing skill shortage.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo comments: “The latest GDP figures coupled with more recent reports that the UK is expected to grow 3% next year sets the stage for a continued recovery in the UK professional jobs market. While we have tentatively been talking ‘recovery’ for some months, this latest data is the most encouraging yet and we believe that 2014 will be the year of the professional jobs comeback. All the economic indicators are there: UK liquidations and receiverships are down by 11.5% year on year; the number of new companies incorporated has grown by just over 2%; we have the highest employment rate since 2008 and full time work growth is accelerating faster than part time. The only blot on the horizon, which I have alluded to before, is an ongoing skills shortage for niche professional roles. As the economic picture gets brighter – this shortage is only going to get worse!” is a B2B online publication for the UK business community.
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