Umbrella Company Employees, especially those with expertise in STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), could be about to see their pay rates climb in 2104 and find plenty of new contracting opportunities, according to data in the latest Job Index from Reed.co.uk.

The Reed Job Index uses data from the 160,000+ vacancies advertised on Reed.co.uk. While figures for January 2014 suggest that pay has not grown substantially from the same time last year (just +1%), company chairman James Reed believes the picture will change this year as candidates become more confident about their prospects and hirers struggle to source and retain the most sought-after talent.

While pay rates hardly budged, vacancies soared between the two Januaries, with this year’s total 29% above last year’s. Over four million job applications were made on the Reed website by more than 6.2 million jobseekers in January 2014.

Conceding that salaries continue to lag despite the encouraging rise in work opportunities, Mr Reed believes that the improving economic conditions in the UK will bring new pressures to bear on pay rates offered by hirers in 2014.

He added: “A wider choice of opportunities is giving candidates a renewed confidence, whilst skills shortages are becoming ever-more apparent in key industries such as engineering. These factors are combining to give employees the upper hand when it comes to negotiating salaries and adding pressure on employers to increase their rates of pay. It will be the employers who are fastest off the starting blocks who will win the new race for talent.”

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