Permanent Vacancies Stand Strong As Demand For Contractors Dips

Recruiters have reported a steady rise in the number of permanent vacancies available, while the demand for contractors has plunged 13% year-on-year.

Data collected by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) reveals considerable differences between the trade association’s core sector groups in terms of hiring activity. While permanent vacancies across both finance and engineering have increased by 7% and 5% respectively, permanent vacancies within IT slipped by 6%.

However, vacancies for professional contractors decreased by 13% across the board year-on-year; with much of this activity attributed to a sizeable fall in the number of roles within financial services.

A decrease in the demand for contractors within financial services (where vacancies dropped by 30% year-on-year) follows a spectacular rise in temporary vacancies in 2016, suggesting that demand in this area is now steady following a difficult period.

Ann Swain, chief executive of APSCo said: “The shift in the ratio of contract assignments to permanent hires reflects tightening skills shortages as employers look to shore up future talent streams. In fact, according to recent data released by Lloyds, more than half of British companies are currently struggling to recruit the staff they need. With this in mind, it is unsurprising that employers seem to be focusing on permanent hires.”

With regards to salaries, figures also show that median salaries across all professional sectors increased by 1.5%. This figure is characterised by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with engineering, financial services, and IT all recording uplifts (of 1.8%, 4.1% and 0.5% respectively).

Swain continued: “The fact that average salaries have once again increased is further indicative of the current market, with employers willing to invest in attracting and retaining sought after skills and expertise.”

“However, with the UK registering the slowest economic growth rate among the G7 group of advanced nations in the first quarter, the big question now is whether this period of stability will continue.”