Independent professionals contracting as Umbrella Company employees and their permanent counterparts are experiencing an opportunity bonanza. Professional recruitment firms have 29% more professional vacancies on their books across the board than at this time last year, according to a new survey by APSCo.
APSCo’s report coincides with a new study from the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), which reveals that 37% of professional workers are intending to leave their current jobs this year. This is a substantial increase on the 19% recorded in 2014 and the 13% recorded in 2013.
Engineering topped the demand league table with an unprecedented year-on-year growth of 53%, largely due to massive government investment in new infrastructure initiatives. Ongoing projects such as Crossrail and HS2 are driving acute demand for engineering talent, while demand for IT professionals leapt by 31%.
The upcoming general election in May is casting a pall of uncertainty over an otherwise buoyant situation, however. A recent survey of CFOs by Deloitte found that the election was far and away their top concern for 2015, with a risk rating of 63 out of 100. This is substantially above the figures for euro deflation (56) and further spending cuts (39).
APSCo CEO Ann Swain warned that it would not be surprising if vacancy rates dipped in Q1 and Q2, although a recovery is confidently anticipated for the summer.
Even so, John Nurthen of Staffing Industry Analysts, which compiles the report for APSCo, believes that, in the event of a Conservative Party win, uncertainty may continue until 2017 with the prospect of an In-Out referendum on the UK’s EU membership.