Almost all contractors are being paid the same or more than permanent employees for the same role, according to new data published by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

The professional body released its latest JobsOutlook last week. The report highlighted an upward trend in the number of firms sourcing talented flexible workers to provide the necessary expertise to help with key projects, with these workers being rewarded handsomely for their skills.

94% of the employers surveyed said freelancers and other self-employed individuals are receiving the same or a higher rate of pay compared to those in a permanent position.

More than three-quarters of respondents (79%) said they had turned to recruitment agencies to obtain the important strategic skills they required, with the REC noting that many are “actively looking to take on more staff”.

The REC also warned of long-term skills gaps, however, with companies currently struggling to source professionals in the technical and engineering, driving and distribution, and construction sectors.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said: “Pay is on the rise as businesses react to the need to keep hold of the staff they already have. In areas where permanent roles are particularly hard to fill, employers are turning to temporary workers in order to access key strategic skills.”

He added: “The demand for skilled people is especially acute in construction and engineering as a result of newly announced housebuilding and infrastructure projects.”

A separate report by recruitment solutions provider Eteach revealed that schools are finding it hard to source candidates with mathematics, engineering, science and technology skills.

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