The overall vacancy numbers for contract roles dipped by 9% in November 2017, while demand for permanent professionals remained largely stable, a study of recruitment firms confirms.
New survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) reveals that demand for contractors decreased across every one of the trade association’s core sector groups during November 2017. Vacancies within engineering, for example, slipped by just 2%, while demand within IT, finance and marketing fell more significantly (by 9%, 9% and 24%, respectively).
While new openings for permanent roles increased by just 0.4% in the same period, the number of professionals placed that month increased by 7% year-on-year. Much of this strength can be attributed to the finance and engineering sectors (where placements increased by 19% and 6%, respectively).
This data coincides with reports that professional talent is becoming more difficult to find due to Britain’s decision to leave the EU, and suggests that employers are trying to hold on to the skills and talent they need as a result.
The overall number of contractors out on assignment, meanwhile, dipped by 11% during the same period. This can largely be attributed to a 33% year-on-year fall in IT professionals working on a contract basis during this time.
Despite this overall dip, the number of contractors out on assignment within engineering and finance increased year-on-year in November 2017 (by 9% and 2%, respectively).
APSCo’s data also reflects the 64,000 decrease in full-time self-employment, as reported by the Office for National Statistics in December 2017.
Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo, commented: “This time last year, we reported that permanent vacancies were flatlining amid uncertainty around Brexit. However, today it seems that employers are more concerned about an exodus of talent than a demise in demand, as was previously feared.”
“As a result, businesses are moving away from the contingent workers that they leaned on in times of greater uncertainty and locking in the talent they need to thrive in 2018.”