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Contractors with technical and engineering skills in short supply, says JobsOutlook

Technical and engineering contractors, along with interim management contractors, have been the hardest to recruit during the third quarter of 2014. This suggests that contractors with these hard to source skills will have the greatest contract opportunities in the coming months.

This is according to the latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) JobsOutlook, which also confirms that large clients, closely followed by microbusinesses, are driving the demand for contractors.

“The UK’s workforce is lean with minimal spare capacity and growing shortages of workers with the skills to fill the jobs that are currently available,” highlights REC CEO Kevin Green. “As employers compete more intensely in the jobs market for the skills they need to grow there will be upward pressure on salaries in the months ahead.”

For the first quarter and second quarters of 2014, IT and telecoms contractors were also in the top four categories of skills in shortest supply alongside engineers and interims, but have dropped out of the top four in Q3 to be replaced by drivers and chefs.

ContractorCalculator CEO Dave Chaplin believes that this is due to more acute skills shortages in other sectors on the run up to the festive season, rather than any lessening of demand for IT contractors.

He explains: “Other surveys including the REC’s leading labour market report, the Report on Jobs, have confirmed that the demand for IT contractors has not lessened, and that skills shortages in some areas of IT continue to worsen.”

The JobsOutlook also highlights worsening capacity levels within contractor clients that are likely to fuel greater demand for contingent workers: “Across their wider workforces, a lack of available capacity is increasingly jeopardising some employers’ ability to meet November and December’s additional demand for their goods and services.”

The report continues: “In September, 91% of employers in the survey said they had little or no capacity to take on more work – the fourth month in a row that the figure has been at or above 90%.”

“As the economic recovery gains pace, demand for contractors has continued to grow,” concludes Chaplin. “As clients who hired contractors for risk management reasons during the downturn fully appreciate the benefits they bring, we are seeing a structural change in the UK labour market in favour of flexible workers.”

Published: 22 October 2014

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