Contractor prospects received another boost according to two key labour market surveys published this week. Manpower’s Employment Outlook Survey for the fourth quarter of 2013 forecasts strong hiring in the finance and business services sector, which includes many contractor businesses.
“Our report…reveals that 2013 has been a game-changing year for the UK jobs market in a number of key sectors,” highlights ManpowerGroup Solutions UK managing director, James Hick. “The big banks have a new spring in their step, with Lloyds Banking Group and RBS poised to return to the market and Barclays about to embark on a big fundraising initiative. Looking to the future we see further finance jobs in the pipeline.”
Morgan McKinley’s August 2013 London Employment Monitor shows a slight decrease in hiring activity over the summer but is predicting a strong bounce-back in September 2013 after the summer slowdown.
“As we anticipated last month, the slight fall in August is not unexpected given the holiday season and we are experiencing all the signs of a bounce-back of activity in September. All the macroeconomic signs are pointing to this,” notes Morgan McKinley Financial Services operations director Hakan Enver.
The UK’s financial sector is the largest consumer of IT contractor services after the software industry, so an upturn in the industry’s fortunes is equally good news for contractors.
But the positive news is not restricted to financial IT contractors. Manpower’s report goes on to show that, alongside finance and business services, the hiring outlook for the utilities sector is strong. Contractors working in natural resources will receive a boost from improved hiring prospects in mining.
However, in contrast to earlier labour market reports this month showing high levels of hiring in construction, such as the REC/KPMG Report on Jobs and Reed Job Index, Manpower reports that construction “employers forecast a downbeat hiring pace in the next three months”.
Regionally, the East and North West of England will experience the biggest gains in hiring over the next quarter. The North East is also experiencing a contracts renaissance, as Hick explains: “We’ve…seen a number of engineering companies in the North East recruiting project managers and skilled staff for offshore wind turbine projects. In fact, employers in the utilities sector…report an upbeat outlook.”
Enver concludes: “As financial institutions gear up for growth, we expect to see increased hiring activity in a number of key areas. Operational and financial change is…a key area and we expect to see a surge in demand for contractors in this space.”