The traditional summer recruitment doldrums during August were a little different this year according to new barometers of the contractor jobs market, which should bring some welcome cheer to jobbing PAYE umbrella contractors.
The latest REC/KPMG Report on jobs reveals that the fall in permanent openings eased to its weakest rate of decline in the last three months. Demand for engineering and IT contracting rallied modestly, with recruitment agencies reporting the first rise in contractor/temp opportunities in nine months.
REC chief executive Kevin Green hailed the “remarkable level of resilience” of the UK labour market, which “continues to outperform predictions.”
Conceding that employer confidence remained fragile, which was slowing down the recruitment process for permanent roles, he added: “It’s clear that being one of the most flexible labour markets in Europe has helped the UK avoid the high levels of unemployment experienced elsewhere on the continent. Recruiters tell us the first rise in the placement of temp workers in nine months is because employers are calling on that flexibility offered by agency staff as a way to grow to meet recent increases in demand.”
Meanwhile, Morgan McKinley’s London Employment Monitor recorded a 5% month-on-month rise in financial services openings in August, the first such rise in three years. Contractors working in the IT skills market also receive a shot in the arm from the Reed Employment Index, with IT and telecoms opportunities hitting an unprecedented index score of 187.
Reed’s MD, Michael Warnes, said that it was “highly encouraging” to see a growth in opportunities during a month that is “traditionally one of the quietest times of the year for recruitment.”