Contractors working through umbrella companies in the IT skills market and in engineering will be heartened to hear that demand for their services held up well in July, although overall online demand for new recruits in the private sector shrank by 3% compared with this time last year, the first year-on-year contraction in 30 months.
So says the latest Monster Employment Index, which reveals year-on-year declines in online private sector demand for consulting (down 6% on last July) and management and construction (both down 12%). The worst performing sector, however, was banking and finance, which plunged be a dispiriting 13% compared to this time last year.
The MD of Monster UK and Ireland, Julian Acquari, said that the disappointing overall figures were caused chiefly by the eurozone debt crisis affecting UK companies hiring intentions. Even so, he went on, there were positive signs in some sectors: “The public sector, for example, continues to show double-digit growth year-over-year. Additionally, research and development is charting its highest annual growth rate for four months; however these pockets of growth are currently counterbalanced by declines in the banking, marketing and construction industries. Once the seasonal stagnation over the summer months subsides we may see this start to turn.”
There was more encouraging news for contractors seeking work in the public sector and defence, however, with both showing strongly increased demand for temporary staff. These appointees, of course, include skilled PAYE umbrella contractors, as public sector hirers scramble to complete vital projects and deliver services in the face of a shrinking pool of permanent staff.