As economies strengthen across Europe, optimism amongst UK financial services employers is climbing impressively. New APSCo figures reveal that vacancies for contracting and permanent roles in the sector have soared by 53% and 26% respectively over the last year.

The roles cover both ‘business critical’ positions and ‘business as usual’ functions, strongly indicating renewed confidence amongst City institutions. APSCo’s data confirms trends revealed in a recent survey by PwC and the CBI, which forecast that the financial and accounting sector in the UK will provide employment for 1.16 million contracting and permanent staff by the end of this year’s second quarter.

The executive director of global research at Staffing Industry Analysts, John Nurthen, noted the strong correlation between GDP growth and growth in finance and accounting roles. When the economy picks up, he said, business demand for forecasting, budgeting, planning and analysis rises, with M&A activity also gathering momentum and driving demand for specialist personnel.

Demand for skilled Umbrella Company Employees and permies in finance and accounting is also being driven by enhanced regulatory requirement and “changes in reporting, globalisation, and the growing importance of business intelligence and ‘big data’”, Mr Nurthen added.

Ann Swain, APSCo’s chief executive, noted that while the first few months of 2014 has been “a real turning point” for professional staffing in finance, a “looming skills shortage” was emerging that could severely halt further growth if left untackled.

She added: “While employers are currently using salaries to entice individuals from one role to another, there is only so long this can carry on for in a limited pool of qualified candidates.”

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