A new study by Robert Half reveals that demand for specialist professionals is far outstripping supply, with significant talent shortages arising in niche areas as a result.

The 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide is widely recognised as the most authoritative source for pay and recruitment trends in professional recruitment, such as information technology, financial services, finance and accounting, and administration roles. This year’s guide reveals that although London remains the UK’s strongest economic performer, growing numbers of London-based firms are expanding their operations into other regions, narrowing the north-south pay and employment gaps in the process.

In the finance and accounting sector, candidates are increasingly being required to offer a comprehensive skills package encompassing strong analytical and communications skills in addition to robust technological competence. Many firms are now rekindling recession-stalled IT projects, making software knowledge a top requirement.

97% of the financial services hirers surveyed reported difficulties in sourcing talent. Cybersecurity expertise is emerging as a major requirement in the sector.

The era of under-investment in IT appears to have resolutely come to a close, with a stampede for IT upgrades driving renewed demand for new professional talent, particularly programme and project managers.

An implication of these trends, however, is that hirers may need skilled Umbrella Company employees and other experts in the professional contracting community to plug skills gaps. This is especially true in the IT sector, the study reveals.

Robert Half UK’s senior managing director, Phil Sheridan, noted that remuneration now includes more than pay. The most in-demand professionals, he said: “are looking for a range of benefits as well as flexibility in their work/life balance.”

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