Latest jobs data: Permanent placements up, but demand for talent dips

Permanent placements increase by 9% and number of contractors out on assignment down 18%

Permanent placements up

Professional recruitment firms reported that the number of candidates securing permanent roles in May 2018 increased by 9% year-on-year, according to new survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

APSCo’s research, which focuses on professional recruitment, reveals notable variations between the trade association’s core sector groups in terms of hiring activity. While permanent placements within financial services and IT increased by 17% and 15% respectively over the 12 month period, the number of marketing professionals securing permanent roles during this time slipped by 11%.

Demand for talent dips

Despite strong hiring activity in May 2018, demand for talent dipped year-on-year which suggests that the professional jobs market may be reaching a tipping point. Vacancies for permanent roles decreased by 3% while calls for contractors slipped by 8%.

Demand for finance professionals, however, remains strong with vacancies for contractors to work in the sector increasing by 22% in May 2018 while demand for permanent talent rose by 8% year-on-year.

This positivity within financial services comes despite predictions that the City of London could see 75,000 job losses post-Brexit.

The IT sector also remains resilient, with demand for permanent talent within the sector increasing by 6% year-on-year. Following the announcement that private technology firms are to invest more than £2bn in the UK, creating 1,600 new jobs in the process, this positivity looks set to continue.

Average salaries stable

APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors dipped by 0.3% year-on-year. This figure is characterised by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with IT and engineering, for example, recording uplifts of 2.2% and 1.5% respectively.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo comments:

“While professional hiring levels remain strong for now, there are subtle signs that the growth our members have enjoyed of late may be slowing. Brexit uncertainly shows no sign of abating and with the British Chambers of Commerce predicting that the UK economy is set for its worst year since the financial crisis, it is unsurprising that some employers may be hesitant to advertise new roles.

“However, while demand may be slipping across the board, our data shows that there are pockets of strength. Financial services and IT, in particular, continue to perform incredibly well, but only time will tell if this looks set to continue.”

John Nurthen, Staffing Industry Analysts’ Executive Director of Global Research commented: 

“The latest data from the Office for National Statistics for March suggested that there were 193,000 more jobs added in the UK compared to a year earlier. Unfortunately, this bounty is not benefiting professional staffing firms where our data for May suggests that perm vacancies have declined by 3% and temporary/contract vacancies by 8%. Admittedly, there are some bright spots such as social work, finance and IT, but performance across the whole UK jobs market remains patchy.”


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