Richard Nott, Website Director,

The recruitment market has been impacted by social trends, the economy and changes in policy this year. Looking forward to 2012, has picked out the most significant trends from this year and made predictions on how the market will respond over the next 12 months.

Industry comparison
CWJobs is the leading specialist IT recruitment website – attracting 322,000 unique users and 340,000 job applications every month. The subsequent data produced from these exchanges allows us to provide insight and comment on trends in the market.

Pre-recession, market data indicates that IT vacancies in the finance sector were booming, with more than 30,000 postings registered in Q2 of 2008. By Q3 of the following year, after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which had a dramatic effect on the financial services sector as a whole, these postings dropped dramatically by 68% to just over 11,000.

While there have been some minor fluctuations, Q3 2011 results indicate the numbers of vacancies in the financial sector are still under peak at 14,873. Despite this, a recent special report from the Financial Times suggests that investment in technology may be key to financial sector growth. The shake up three years ago led to a number of mergers and acquisitions in the sector and having a solid IT framework to integrate data is fundamental to the success of any such union. Recruiting competent IT professionals to help facilitate this seems likely over the next 12 months.

Interestingly, and despite a downturn in 2009, opportunities in the retail sector have steadily increased since 2010, with an uplift of 35% in the last year. The recession has driven consumers online in their millions in a quest for cheaper deals and as a result, retailers not set up to meet this demand are finding themselves left behind. Today, 37 million people in the UK shop online, making e-tail purchases responsible for nearly 10% of all retail sales. The e-tail market is set to grow 18% year-on-year according IMRG, so we would expect demand for IT professionals in this sector to continue to increase as a direct result of this trend.

In May 2008, the Government announced plans to pursue a deal on the introduction of Agency Worker Regulation – a policy that standardises the benefits, pay and conditions of temp and contract workers, with permanent staff, after a 12-week period. Despite much debate about the value of the regulation, the Government pushed ahead and in April 2011 released a first draft of the regulation.

The plans received mixed response from the industry, with many questioning whether the new legislation would cause companies to reduce the number of contract workers they employ.