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Contract opportunities grow as skills shortages worsen in key contracting disciplines

Contractor skills shortages are leading to increasing new contract opportunities in the core contracting disciplines of engineering and technical, IT and computing and executive and professional.

October 2014’s Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) JobsOutlook highlights that “the anticipated shortfall in availability of technical and engineering agency workers” is “dominating concern”. It predicts “acute shortfalls” of interim management contractors in the third quarter of 2014.

“We are seeing increasing evidence that skills shortages are worsening,” notes ContractorCalculator CEO Dave Chaplin. “This is good news for contractors in those skills areas affected who have an increasing number of high quality contracts to choose from as a result.

“However, it is less positive for UK plc, as the shortage of key skills means new projects will be delayed or even cancelled by contractor clients who simply can’t recruit a team with the right skills.”

Contractors may also have opportunities to contract overseas, as the JobsOutlook shows that one in six contractor clients are considering expanding operations into Europe over the next two years.

REC chief executive Kevin Green explains: ““UK employers have been growing and expanding their workforces throughout 2014. Business confidence has returned to such an extent that many are now looking beyond the UK for opportunities overseas. We’re looking ahead to a potential doubling of the number of UK companies doing business beyond our shores in the next two years.

“It’s interesting that the bulk of those employers want to build their brands in the European market, re-iterating how important the EU is as our key trading partner. It also highlights the ambition and growing confidence of UK businesses as our economy and labour markets both continue to perform well at home.”

In addition to European expansion plans, 43% of contractor clients plan to increase contractor headcounts and 49% plan to keep them stable. When asked why they hire contractors, 68% of clients say they use contractors “to provide short-term access to key strategic skills”.

Published: 19 November 2014

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