New survey data from APSCo and Staffing Industry Analysts reveals a dramatic increase in professional contracting placements and pay rates during 2015.

Professional recruitment firms participating in the survey reported an overall increase of 9% in temporary contracting placements this year, more than double the increase recorded for permanent placements (4%). The trend is in line with recent ONS data showing a year-on-year rise of more than half a million in overall employment.

The climbing demand for skilled Umbrella Company Employees and other contracting professionals is also confirmed by the latest Future of Work report from PwC, which revealed that nearly half of HR professionals expect that at least 20% of their workforce will comprise temporary workers and contractors by 2020.

Commenting on the findings, APSCo chief executive Ann Swain said: “The UK’s reliance on the flexible workforce shows no sign of abating and it is clear that UK economic growth and global competitiveness depends on the continued flexibility of its labour market.”

She continued: “As the pace of technology increases, fluid labour will become vital. The nature of work is changing and the employment landscape now contains many different types of engagement and motivations for working outside the traditional employed model.”

The survey also found that median pay rates across all professional sectors rose steadily by 4.6% in 2015 compared with the previous year, although there were fluctuations dependent on sector. There was, for example, a large uptick in financial services pay, while most professional sectors showed increases, including sales (up 6.2%), engineering (3.7%), IT (2.4%) and marketing (0.6%).

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