New figures from APSCo show that professional recruitment firms have 21% more vacancies on their books than at this time last year.

There was, however, a marginal month-on-month decline of 1% between January and February this year, which APSCo attributes to uncertainties around the general election.

Umbrella Company Employees and others who specialise in IT contracting have seen demand for their talents multiplying rapidly over the year, as indeed have their permanent counterparts, as a major national shift in roles takes place in response to the digital economy. New research from PwC reveals that 1.8 million people, representing 6% of the total workforce, now work in roles that did not exist in 1990. London is expected to remain the primary driver of new digital roles and is forecast to grow by 25% over the coming decade, with 13.8% of this growth expected to occur in the Inner London area.

Temporary and contract vacancies increased year-on-year by 4.4%, reflecting a recent analysis from the Bank of England that identified structural shifts in the workforce toward contracting and self-employment.

APSCo CEO Ann Swain said: “Contract vacancy rates no longer directly correlate with the number of permanent positions. A record 15% of the UK workforce is now self-employed, which is a sign of our nation’s desire for flexibility, driven by entrepreneurial spirit. George Osborne’s budget announcement that class 2 national insurance contributions will be scrapped for self-employed professionals in the next parliament indicates further government support for contractors, which, it is worth mentioning, account for a third of the growth in employment since 2010.”

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