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Contractor hiring in the SME sector to surge during next quarter

Contractors may find their next contract with a small to medium sized enterprise (SME), as these are the companies most looking to hire contractors over the next quarter. “The levels of increased demand that this will generate in the next quarter will raise competition for skills considerably.”

This is according to the latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) JobsOutlook for May 2014, which also says that 46% of contractor clients across the board plan to hire more contractors over the next four to twelve months.

“Contractors can offer a range of solutions to client organisations, whether they are global financial sector firms or start-ups,” observes ContractorCalculator CEO Dave Chaplin. “It is encouraging to see that the UK’s smaller businesses have recognised the benefits contractors can offer.”

“Business confidence continues to grow and it is excellent news to see employers planning to hire more people,” adds REC head of policy Kate Shoesmith.

The report shows that the skills in most demand are in core contractor sectors such as the technical/engineering and professional/managerial fields. These match the skills shortages in the permanent recruitment space, and the survey highlights that this means there is “an acute need for these skills”.

Demand for workers in the financial sector also reached a peak during May, the highest point since January 2012.

The public sector continues to suffer from austerity adjustments. Nearly a third of public sector organisations are still having to cut their permanent workforce, compared to only 16% of private sector firms.

But this can be positive: “Contractors continue to provide a short-term capacity management solution to public sector hirers so that service levels can be maintained,” says Chaplin. “And with a third of clients with no capacity for further growth, contractor demand seems likely to grow across the board.

Chaplin concludes: “This month’s JobsOutlook paints a very encouraging picture of the UK’s contracting sector, It shows contracting clients, including those in the SME sector, to be upbeat about their future hiring intentions.”

Published: 18 June 2014

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