A survey of more than 100 recruiters by the recruitment software company Mercury xRM has found that the vast majority (81%) have seen substantially improved business activity compared to this time last year. 53% also reported that 2014 began ‘very well’ as far as business activity was concerned.

Umbrella Company Employees and others in the professional contracting community can draw considerable comfort from these trends, and even more from the finding that significant numbers of recruiters are reporting growing skills shortages: 27% reported a lack of quality candidates as their top challenge.

In basic terms, this may well translate directly into more contracting opportunities as businesses turn to skilled independent professionals for the talent they need to ensure business-critical projects are completed without further delay.

The figures follow recent statistics from the Bank of England suggesting that the UK economy is returning to its pre-recession state, with the growth in jobs between January and March this year hitting a level not seen for 43 years.

The proliferation of new jobs is generating a potentially self-limiting problem, however: competition amongst businesses for the highest-quality staff is intensifying, with the result that many are turning to specialist recruiters to source the most sought-after contractors and permanent professionals.

Mercury xRM’s marketing manager, Mark Britton, said: “It’s great to see real signs of economic growth across the UK, and it’s really positive to see these government statistics reflected by recruiters. The recent recession has hit every business but our barometer shows high levels of optimism and, more importantly, growth are now visible within the recruitment industry.”

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