IT contracting specialists working through umbrella companies may be heartened to discover that, while permanent staffing opportunities fell last month, temporary billings – especially in the IT skills market, engineering and professional services – climbed slightly, according to the latest REC/KPMG Report on Jobs.
The dip in permanent billings was the first fall recorded by the REC survey in over two years. The report, which is based on a poll of 400 UK recruitment and employment agencies, attributes the decline to hesitancy amongst employers due to the general economic outlook. Even so, successful candidates for permanent posts in October were awarded starting salaries that were broadly in line with previous months.
KPMG’s Head of Business Services, Bernard Brown, said “Nervous employers are placing recruitment decisions on hold amidst concerns over the economic outlook, in many cases choosing instead to plug gaps with temps. There is some positive news with more permanent opportunities in IT, finance and accounting showing signs of improvement. However, we are still on a knife edge as we enter a critical time for European economic stability”
REC Chief Executive Kevin Green hailed the increasing use of skilled temporary workers, such as PAYE umbrella contractors, as “fantastic news”,” not least because many had feared they would suffer due to the implementation of the Agency Workers Regulations in October. He added “This again demonstrates the importance of the UK’s flexible workforce in helping businesses meet fluctuating demand and keeping people in work.”
IT professionals with Java skills were most in demand for permanent posts, and Java experts and business analyst topped the bill in the temporary sector.