New research from APSco indicates that whilst rampant hiring continues in the professional recruitment market, this growth could ultimately be undermined by skills shortages and workers opting to take on new job opportunities.

According to a new report conducted by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), vacancy and placement figures continued to grow over the month of August.

This comes during a period where hiring traditionally stalls, indicating the strength of the recruitment sector at this current time.

Data cited in the report signals that monthly figures for contract vacancies showed a 10 per cent increase.

Conversely, permanent vacancies slipped by just one per cent which is less than normal during the summer holidays.

In addition, due to the pandemic and its effects, year-on-year metrics for permanent and contract roles showed marked increases – up almost half (47 per cent) and four-fifths (79.5 per cent) respectively.

This, the report finds, is in line with the Government’s findings which revealed that the number of individuals on payrolls is now very close to its pre pandemic level, currently sitting at 28.9 million, compared with 29 million in March 2020.

In addition, the ending of the furlough scheme provides opportunities for workers coming off the scheme to plug gaps and labour shortages across all industries.

However, it further notes that the sector is contending with factors such as Brexit which has led to widespread staff shortages and the Great Resignation which is seeing candidates move on from their current role.

As such, the research suggests that there is an increasing demand for and reliance on professional recruitment firms to help resource skills in the professional sectors.

Commenting on the data Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo said:

We are well and truly back to a highly candidate led market where demand for professional skills across all our sectors is constantly outstripping supply.  If we look back at last year, a lot of projects and expansion plans were put on hold and with the economy now back on a growth trajectory, there is a real scramble for the skills needed to fulfil those projects and growth plans.

We are also now seeing the effect of ‘the great resignation’, and there is obviously still the Brexit effect to contend with, particularly as there is no post Brexit immigration policy that allows skilled contractors to work here on a project-by-project basis – a situation we are lobbying government about as this policy has turned off a whole pool of EU talent that the UK has previously relied on.