UK employers are poised to scour the professional contracting community in search of skilled freelancers specialising in IT, engineering and construction, with nearly four in ten (39%) reporting ‘no capacity’ to take on new business without more staff and a further 56% declaring that they only have ‘a little’ capacity.

So says the latest Report on Jobs survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, which reveals that the number of employers reporting zero or limited capacity has climbed five percentage points in a month, from February’s 90% to 95% in March. Over the same period the number reporting ‘a fair amount’ of capacity has halved, shrinking from 10% to 5%.

While 79% intend to hire more permanent staff, 24% reported worries about a shortage of Umbrella Company Employees and other contractors with technical and engineering skills. 19% share the same concern for permanent talent.

Kevin Green, the REC’s chief executive, said that employers were telling recruiters that the market is seeing renewed confidence and that they are trying to take advantage of strengthening demand. The government’s newly-announced investment in infrastructure and transport initiatives was also a sign of a recovering economy, Mr Green added, but he also sounded a cautionary note.

“Questions remain, however, about where employers will find the skilled workers to carry out these projects and to respond to growth. Employers are already reporting talent shortages in key industries like engineering, IT and construction. Fixing this needs to be a priority for the next government so that the UK can continue to prosper,” he explained.

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