The demand for flexible workers was strong during May as contractor billings surged across the country, the latest Report on Jobs shows. Both contractor placements and pay rates increased at a quicker pace than during April.

The new report form the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG indicates an ongoing shortage of skills in a range of sectors and regions as demand for temporary workers continues to outstrip supply, with this trend likely to continue for the remainder of the year.

This is promising news for the flexible workforce, as skilled contractors will be sourced by an increasing number of firms that want to access talent on a short-term basis.

Temporary workers in nursing and medical care experienced the most demand during May; however, it proved to be a more difficult month for construction contractors, who were the least coveted. Permanent employees were more sought after in this sector due to a need for professional and executive roles.

Contractors were in higher demand in the private sector, with the Midlands and London offering the greatest number of opportunities for work.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said: “It’s imperative that the new government gets to grips with skills shortages because a jobs crisis is looming. Recruiters are doing a great job at getting more and more people into work, but four in ten of those recruiters say that the availability of candidates is getting worse each month.”

He added: “Businesses are looking to expand, and roles like marketing, legal and HR are increasingly in demand. This is good news for jobseekers because they can command higher starting salaries as employers compete for talent.”

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