Positive Trends

APSCo figures show good performance despite Covid impact.

The latest monthly Recruitment Trends Snapshot report from The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has shown vacancies for contract and permanent jobs increased in January when compared to December 2020 as optimism returned to the professional recruitment sector. The data, provided by growth analytics platform, cube19, revealed that following the usual dip in recruitment activity over the Christmas period, hiring bounced back in January for both contract and permanent jobs with roles up 42 per cent and 38 per cent respectively –  indicating that the current climate isn’t hampering the regrowth from the pandemic.

The statistics also reveal that while year-on-year permanent vacancies were down 28 per cent, the annual percentage fall is continuing to decrease. In December, the year-on-year drop stood at 32 per cent signalling a 4 per cent improvement in January. In comparison, contract vacancies were down by only 11 per cent year-on-year – a 5 per cent improvement on December where the drop was 16 per cent.

Elsewhere, the data reveals that while permanent placements increased by 7 per cent month-on-month, contract placements fell by 6 per cent. However, there was an increase in sales revenue from contract placements (up 7 per cent month-on-month) suggesting that there were higher value placements in January compared to December 2020.

The daily tracking data reveals that there was a flurry of activity immediately after the Christmas period with 14 per cent more contract jobs added in the first two weeks of January compared to the last two weeks of the month. On the permanent side, there was a steady flow of jobs throughout January with just a 2 per cent difference between the first and second half of the month.

Interview numbers increased by 18.5 per cent in the last two weeks of January compared to the first two, suggesting that this uptick will translate into positive placement numbers in February.

“It’s incredibly encouraging to see such a healthy uptick in vacancies for both permanent and contract roles month-on-month following the usual seasonal dip in December,’ said Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo. “And while we entered the New Year with the announcement of another national lockdown, schools closing once more, and a return to widespread remote working, our data suggest that this hasn’t dampened hiring intentions with businesses remaining optimistic despite the current restrictions. In addition, the fact that the percentage drop in year-on-year vacancies for permanent jobs is closing indicates we are certainly moving in the right direction. It is also interesting to note that we are seeing higher value contract placements indicative of the increasing reliance on the professional contingent workforce as employers turn to agile and flexible hiring solutions in an uncertain market.”

Joe McGuire, global sales director of cube19 added: “The number of new vacancies in January is very positive and this is in spite of The Bank of England reports that GDP is expected to fall by about 4 per cent in Q1. They are also projecting that following this, there will be a rapid recovery toward pre-Covid levels throughout 2021 which means opportunity will continue to grow in our industry this year.”

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