Consistently positive GDP results, coupled with reports that business optimism is at its highest level since 1998, has driven impressive growth across the entire professional jobs market. The latest employment trends report from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) reveals that the placement of professional talent has increased by 29% compared to the same time last year.


Strong growth across all professional sectors

Beneath this headline figure, the latest data from APSCo reveals that permanent placements have seen particularly strong growth in sectors such as accounting and finance. This mirrors plans by the Big Four accounting firms to substantially increase their graduate level recruitment this year with KPMG and PwC, for example, both planning to hire 30% more candidates than last year.

Permanent hiring overtaking contract

In a further sign of increased business confidence, APSCo’s reveals that organisations are increasing their permanent headcount at their fastest rate since before the recession. Vacancies across the engineering and financial services sector, for example, have soared over the past year (33% and 38% respectively). The resurgence across the permanent market is indicative of employers investing in long-term talent to drive business growth. Meanwhile, APSCo’s data shows that contract vacancies have begun to stabilise, rising by 10%.

Employers will need to do more to retain talent

APSCo’s data shows that candidates across the professional employment market are also capitalising on increased business confidence with salaries rising by over 9% year-on-year in some sectors such as telecommunications and banking. This is reflective of news last month from the ONS that earnings are increasing faster than inflation for the first time since 2010. However, one City recruiter has warned that employers need to think ahead to ensure growth is not hampered by increased candidate movement as a result of salary increases on offer at rival companies.

Hakan Enver, Operations Director, Morgan McKinley Financial Services, commented: “With employees feeling more confident about their prospects, and the possibility of securing a better package elsewhere, recruitment managers are advised to think ahead to ensure they avoid possible staffing gaps at a time when their businesses are planning for growth.”

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo comments: “The latest GDP results, coupled with our monthly data showing impressive growth across all professional sectors, makes me confident that the remainder of 2014 will be prosperous for employers and employees alike.  Despite this, however, organisations do need to plan ahead to ensure they have the right talent on board to fuel growth in the coming months. Effective talent attraction and retention strategies will be fundamental as we progress throughout the year.”

John Nurthen, Executive Director International Development for Staffing Industry Analysts, who compile the report for APSCo, comments: “I don’t think anyone would now doubt that the economy is in an upward trajectory. The danger for employers is that there can be a lapse before they adjust their outlook to deal with the changed environment – an employment market where power is swinging to the jobseeker and away from the job provider.”