Professional recruitment firms reported that the number of candidates securing permanent roles in March 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 IT and engineering increased by 7% and 3% respectively over the 12 month period, the number of marketing professionals securing permanent roles during this time slipped by 8%.
Vacancies for permanent staff, meanwhile, remained largely stable across the board, dipping by just 2% in March 2018.
Financial services strong
The number of finance professionals securing permanent roles increased by 22% in the year to March 2018, while the number of contract professionals out on assignment in the sector rose 2% over the same period.
Vacancies for permanent finance professionals during this time grew by 11% while demand for contractors within financial services rose 18%, indicating ongoing strength across the market.
This confidence in the market mirrors recent research by Lloyds Bank which found that 88% of senior leaders believe the UK will remain the most prominent hub for financial services even after the UK leaves the EU.
Contract market remains weak
Despite strong demand for finance interims, overall contract vacancies dipped by 10% year-on-year in March 2018. The overall number of contractors out on assignment, meanwhile, dipped by 17% during the same period. This can largely be attributed to a significant 37% year-on-year fall in IT professionals working on a contract basis during this time.
Average salaries stable
APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors dipped by 2.3% year-on-year. This figure is characterised by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with IT and engineering, for example, recording uplifts of 3.6% and 2.9% respectively.
Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo comments:
“Against a backdrop of record-high employment levels, the growth in permanent placements continues to outstrip contractor use as businesses look to secure the skills they need to thrive in an increasingly competitive market.”
“The current strength of the financial services sector is particularly noteworthy, with firms overcoming post-referendum jitters and scrambling to recruit both permanent and contingent talent.”
“While hiring activity in the sector dropped off sharply amid fears of widespread job-losses after June 2016, confidence in the City is undoubtedly returning. London has retained its top spot as the world’s leading financial centre in this year’s Global Financial Centres Index. Separate data from Lloyds Bank also suggests that only around a quarter of financial institutions plan to move workforces overseas, with 57% of firms which are planning to relocate roles saying this will impact less than 10% of their workforce.”
John Nurthen, Staffing Industry Analysts’ Executive Director of Global Research commented:
“Those professional staffing firms with a bias towards permanent placement will be relishing the current market while those supplying temporaries and contractors have been increasingly squeezed since summer 2017. Finance is the only sector where placements increased across both categories of workers, giving some hope to the government’s claim last week that the UK’s financial services industry will emerge largely unscathed from Brexit and suffer far fewer job losses than first feared.
“However, with continuing uncertainty about passporting arrangements – which allow financial firms in one EU state to service clients in another without setting up local subsidiaries – the safety of finance jobs through the Brexit transition remains unclear.”