Contractors now help 79% of the UK’s client and employer organisations to meet strategic objectives, reports the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) JobsOutlook for August 2013.
The report also confirms that over a third of clients plan to increase their contractor use over the next quarter, and just under two thirds plan to maintain it. “All in all, a hugely positive showing for planned use of agency workers in the next quarter,” says the REC.
The predicted increases in contractor hiring may be as a result of clients experiencing capacity issues as the economic recovery gathers pace. According to REC: “Around 10% of those who, a month earlier, had a little or considerable spare workforce capacity now have none.”
It goes on to say that “over one third of employers now state that they would have to take on more people in order to take on more work” and that there is “clear evidence that employers intend to use increasing amounts of agency labour to extend their capacity”.
Large clients continue to be the biggest consumers of contractor services. The net balance of businesses with more than 200 employees forecasting that their contractor numbers will increase over the next quarter was running at 39% during August. This represents an increase from 27% in the previous month.
Consistent with other recently published labour market surveys, contractor clients anticipate experiencing skills shortages in the technical and engineering, and computing, IT and telecoms sectors.
Hiring patterns across the core contracting sectors vary and paint an unclear picture of contractor prospects, which may be due to seasonality. Engineering prospects fell slightly during August when compared with July, but technology sector prospects rose sharply. Office and professional both increased, and far outperformed permanent prospects in their sectors.
For finance, accounting and financial IT contractors, August’s JobsOutlook contained some very positive news, as both contractor and permanent employee prospects increased sharply. As the financial sector is second largest consumer of IT contractor services, increasing permanent headcounts in it has a direct impact on financial IT contractor prospects.