Demand for flexible workers is continuing to grow at a steady rate in professional sectors, according to the latest monthly report on employment trends by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

New data shows that both contract and short-term vacancies have increased by a modest 2% during the last 12 months; however, sectors such as finance and accounting, where opportunities have soared by 34%, have been particularly fruitful for freelancers.

APSCo chief executive Ann Swain noted that a strong increase in permanent roles had not resulted in a negative impact on the flexible market, with those taking on temporary, project-based work enjoying just as many opportunities as their fully-employed counterparts.

The latest report is another sign that independent working remains in rude health despite plans by the government to cut access to travel expenses next year. A previous report by the Office for National Statistics revealed that the number of self-employed workers increased by 30,000 during the year to September 2015.

APSCo also said that more firms are embracing a “new normal” that sees temporary professionals as a key part of the workforce rather than a mere stop gap to cover shortfalls in permanent roles. This trend is set to continue through 2016.

Finance and accounting contractors are currently experiencing the highest demand for their skills, with companies sourcing highly-skilled workers to manage change. The APSCo report also found that agencies have recorded a 6% year-on-year rise in the number of vacancies on their books.

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