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Contractor vacancy growth reaches 16-year high, driven by regional demand

Contractor vacancy growth reached a 16-year high during August 2014, as the number of vacancies grew at the fastest rate since May 1998. This growth was driven by increased recruitment in the English regions, suggesting contractors may wish to look outside of the capital for well-paid contracts. In contrast, hiring in London’s financial sector fell, believed to be as a result of the summer slowdown.

The latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC)/KPMG Report on Jobs highlights that skills shortages are driving clients to seek talent outside of London, resulting in both increased rates and opportunities for contractors.

REC CEO Kevin Green explains: “The jobs market is often criticised for being London-centric but our data shows that rates of growth for both permanent starting salaries and temp pay rates are faster in the South, Midlands and North this month. Recruiters tell us that the driver behind this increase is the competition to attract and retain the skilled people outside London.”

However, August’s Morgan McKinley’s London Employment Monitor shows a sharp drop in hiring and contractor availability in London’s financial centre that Morgan McKinley Financial Services operations director Hakan Enver blames on the impact of the ‘traditional summer slowdown’.

“August proved a challenging month for City recruitment, with the market definitely feeling the impact of the summer holiday season,” notes Enver. “However, this blip was entirely expected and not reflective of the general upward trend in hiring, shown in the annual 18% rise in vacancies. We predict the market will bounce back in September.”

REC CEO Kevin Green is also upbeat about contractor prospects, particularly in the core contracting disciplines: “It’s more great news for people looking for work this month, as we see more people being placed into jobs across all regions and sectors including construction, IT and engineering.”

Engineering and construction are second and third place respectively in the Report on Job’s demand league tables. The fall in City hiring explained by the London Employment Monitor could be one of the reasons why the accounting and financial category languishes in seventh place.

IT and computing fell one place from seventh in July into eighth place in August. Demand for IT contractors actually increased month-on-month, but its fall down the league table was due to better performance from other contractor and temp categories. The interim management contractor market continues to suffer with slowing demand growth leading to yet another month in last place.

Published: 08 September 2014

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