The latest JobsOutlook report from the REC reveals that demand for temporary/contracting staff remains securely in positive territory, with 45 per cent of the 600 employers polled reporting that they plan to increase their shorter-term headcounts over the next three months and 38 per cent plan to do so in the coming year.

Umbrella Company employees and other professional contractors are being used by a majority of employers: 65 per cent reported that they are turning to agency staff to gain access to key skills.

The outlook for permanent role seekers was also impressive, with 89 per cent of the respondents planning to expand permanent headcounts over the next three months and 77 per cent planning to do so over the next year.

A dark cloud on the horizon remains in terms of talent shortages, however, with qualified drivers in particular becoming a huge recruitment headache for employers in the run-up to Christmas. The scarcity of qualified drivers represents just part of a much wider skill and talent shortage reported by employers.

According to REC CEO Kevin Green, people have been put off entering the driving sector due to the high costs of insurance and training ‒ difficulties that have been compounded by the new requirements of the Certificate of Professional Competence.

Mr Green added: “The UK’s workforce is lean, with minimal spare capacity and growing shortages of workers with the skills to fill the jobs that are currently available. As employers compete more intensely in the jobs market for the skills they need to grow, there will be upward pressure on salaries in the months ahead.”

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