Survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has shown professional recruitment firms reporting demand for permanent talent fell by three per cent year-on-year in November 2018, while vacancies for contingent workers decreased by six per cent over the same period. Despite this overall decline in demand, APSCo’s data does reveal pockets of positivity, most notably within the financial services sector, where vacancies for contractors rose by 14 per cent.
Despite a dip in demand for talent, permanent placements increased by four per cent in November 2018. This overall strength can be firmly attributed to a significant 39 per cent year-on-year increase in permanent placements within the IT sector. All other sectors recorded a dip in the number of professionals securing permanent roles. Within engineering, for example, this decrease was negligible, with placements decreasing by 0.1 per cent. Within the finance and marketing sectors vacancies slipped by one per cent and 11 per cent respectively.
While permanent placements increased four per cent in the year to November 2018, the number of contractors out on assignment dipped by eight per cent during the same period. Use of contingent workers fell across every one of APSCo’s core sectors, with the exception of financial services where contractor levels increased by 10 per cent year-on-year.
APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors remained stable in November 2018, rising by 0.6 per cent across the board. Average salaries within the majority of APSCo’s core sectors, however, increased more significantly. Within accountancy and financial services, for example, recording rises of 2 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively. In engineering and IT, meanwhile, salaries are up by 3.2 per cent and 2.5 per cent.
“While permanent placements remain strong for now, ongoing uncertainty around Britain’s future relationship with the EU, combined with predictions that the UK economy is forecast to fall in GDP rankings, means that employers are becoming more cautious with regards to future hiring,” said Ann Swain, chief executive of APSCo. “The number of contractors out on assignment is notably lower than a year ago, which we suspect is reflective on incoming changes to IR35 in the private sector – and with further changes to legislation around the use of contingent workers now confirmed, it will be no surprise if this trend continues.”
John Nurthen, Staffing Industry Analysts’ executive director of Global Research added: “The strong growth in IT placements is in stark contrast to other professional categories where candidate shortages are being exacerbated by people’s hesitance to move jobs in the continuing uncertain pre-Brexit environment.”