The latest data from APSCo reveals that hirers are showing no sign of cutting their use of contracting and temporary staff, with placements growing by 10% and vacancies by 9% in the professional sectors monitored.

The study interprets the continued growth as evidence that organisations are continuing to rely on contingent staff to plug skills shortages in certain sectors. This is not the only reason, however: employers appear to be actively increasing their use of Umbrella Company Employees and other skilled independent professionals as a matter of course in the context of an increasingly flexible labour market.

Permanent placements also performed very strongly in all professional recruitment sectors, rising by 33% overall on a year-on-year basis. They have now reached the highest level since the APSCo survey began.

The most impressive growth occurred in the engineering and finance & accounting sectors, with permanent placements rising by 41% and 39% respectively compared to this time last year and vacancies increasing by 24% and 30%.

The figures indicate a strong rise in job creation, economic output and business optimism. Commenting, APSCo CEO Ann Swain said: “A ‘triple peak’ in the latest key economic indicators is fantastic news and confirms that there is now real momentum behind the UK’s current growth.”

John Nurthen, the executive director of international development at Staffing Industry Analysts, which compiled the APSCo study, added: “The data for this month does seem to suggest that the professional recruitment market is firing on all cylinders. Recruiters are now having to cope with the novelty of escalating demand after many years just focused on beating down costs.”

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