Despite growing employer uncertainty about the outcome of the general election in May, the UK’s professional contracting community enjoyed “an incredibly positive year” in 2014, the associate director of contractor recruitment specialist Venn Group has claimed.

Jodie Finn was commenting on the latest analysis from Venn Group, which reveals that despite these employer concerns the contract market only experienced a marginal 1% year-on-year drop in vacancy levels.

Contractor recruitment activity eased slightly in the final months of 2014 as the election drew closer, with many employers worried about the possibility of a Conservative victory and an in-out referendum on the EU.

Below the headline figure from Venn, however, some contractor sectors showed remarkably vigorous growth. Vacancies for Umbrella Company employees and other independent professionals in the construction sector grew by 11% year-on-year, largely thanks to huge development projects such as Crossrail, which alone has created thousands of contractor roles.

Digital specialists saw an even larger growth in contract vacancies at 17% as technology is increasingly melded into business activity, driving demand for specialists who can help embed and install complex systems into pre-existing infrastructures.

Finally, acute skills shortages are prompting more employers to turn to skilled contractors to ensure work levels are maintained.

Ms Finn explained: “Our analysis clearly demonstrates the critical role that contractors play in the success of UK businesses. Despite the overall fall in vacancy levels as a result of caution surrounding the looming election, 2014 was an incredibly positive year for employers and contractors.”

The election could, she said, “be a real gamer changer for the recruitment landscape”.

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