Despite the wretched state of the UK economy and the febrile atmosphere in the eurozone, employer confidence has only been slightly dented and demand for PAYE umbrella contractors remains strong. So says the latest JobsOutlook from the REC, at any rate.

A majority of hirers (66%) say that they will proceed with plans to appoint more permanent staff during the next quarter, while 63% plan to do so in the next year.

Hardworking contractors earning their way through umbrella companies will be heartened to hear that demand for temporary roles has also remained robust, with 31% of employers planning to hire more agency workers over the next three months and 49% planning to maintain current levels. Over the longer period, 26% plan to hire more temporary staff over the next year, while 56% plan to maintain current levels.

This may not be sufficient to induce jubilation amongst the contracting community, but it is very far from a meltdown. Overall, the composite figure for employer confidence, as measured by the JobsOutlook, has fallen just one point since the peak recorded in April. Contractors supplying the IT skills market can certainly look forward to being head-hunted – employers anticipate finding it hard to find enough talent in IT&T, technical, computing and engineering in the coming twelve months.

Roger Tweedy, the REC’s Director of Research, said:

“Demand for staff is higher in certain sectors and bosses tell us that despite the current rate of unemployment they still predict they will find it hard to fill the vacancies they have for engineers and skilled IT and technical staff.”

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