A little seasonal cheer has appeared for freelancers working for either umbrella companies or limited companies. Figures from the major recruitment firm, Reed, suggest that vacancies reached the highest point this year last month. The latest Reed Job Index shows that demand for new staff reached an annual peak in November, with job opportunities rising by four percentage points over October’s figure.

According to the Managing Director of Reed.co.uk, Martin Warnes, job demand as recorded in the latest statistics is now 11 per cent higher than when the survey first began, an encouraging sign that the demand for jobs is continuing to grow. Of especial significance in the light of recent public expenditure cutbacks is that demand for new workers in the private sector appears to be accelerating. According to Mr Warnes, a wide range of areas are actively recruiting, including engineering and scientific sectors as well as banking and financial services.

Reed’s figures emerge at the same time as the results of a survey of IT staffing experts conducted by the specialist recruiter, Outsource UK. Those with specialist knowledge in the IT skills market will not necessarily be jumping for joy at Outsource UK’s forecast, but neither will they be driven into despondency: strains in this market, caused largely as a result of public sector economies, are likely to spill over into the first quarter of 2011. But, the survey suggests, so will the strengths – there is evidence of continued, steady demand for expert knowledge of Java and C#, especially in the south of the country. Web-based development within the .Net space continues to be strong, and the verdict is for a “steady but not spectacular” market in 2011.

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