New figures from APSCo suggest that professional jobseekers are more likely to find temporary contract work than permanent positions.

The number of available permanent positions fell by approximately 1% since the start of the year, while the number of temporary/contracting roles rose slightly by 0.3%. The figures are in line with data from the Office for National Statistics, which suggest that more than one-third of new jobs are classified as temporary.

“While one swallow does not make a summer, this data does seem to suggest a slight thawing of the bleak conditions experienced by professional jobseekers over recent years,” said APSCo chief executive Ann Swain. Conceding that the picture remained fairly grim for those seeking permanent roles, she noted that temporary placements had risen by 4.5% and appeared to be continuing in an upward trajectory.

Ms Swain continued: “Additionally, it is important to recognise that temporary placements within the professional sectors such as engineering, IT and finance do not equate to short-term cover assignments but rather to longer term contract and project work offering not only a viable alternative to those seeking permanent employment but also a great deal of flexibility to both employers and employees.”

John Nurthen of Staffing Industry Analysts, the firm that compiles data for APSCo, said that staffing firms had been finding work for IT contractors since the start of 2011 and that the sector remains the most solid. Since the autumn, he added, a stronger environment had also benefited engineering contractors, and signs are emerging that accounting and finance may finally be starting to stabilise.

Umbrella Company Employees in these sectors, it would seem, will not be short of assignments in 2013.

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