This is according to new survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo). The findings are supported by the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which reported in June that the overall employment rate remained at 74.2% in the three months to April 2016 – the same figure published the previous month – after employment levels increased by only 55,000.
However, the survey also found that temporary and contract vacancies had increased across the professional staffing market, with opportunities up by 1% year-on-year. Demand within finance and accounting was particularly strong, with vacancies increasing by 27%. APSCo states this can most likely be attributed to a reluctance to hire on a permanent basis amid pre-Brexit uncertainty, juxtaposed with the extra workload in areas such as legislation and stress-testing created by future unpredictability.
Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo, commented: “The fact that permanent hiring has slowed consistently in the run up to the EU referendum means that this latest data is unsurprising. At this time of uncertainty, our world leading recruitment sector will continue to provide vital labour market flexibility that will allow business to grow. APSCo is now undertaking additional research with members to understand how the vote is impacting placements, vacancies and salaries.”
As recruiters prepare for the challenges of Brexit, a leading contracting sector expert is also urging vital support for the contracting sector.
Nova Contracting Director, Marcus Green, commented: “The contracting sector has faced more than its fair share of legislative change and challenge in recent years and has shown itself to be flexible and resilient as it continues to meet the ever-growing demand for temporary workforce. Now is not the time to add more rules and restrictions.
“Temporary workers will be an even more essential resource as recruiters respond to the period of uncertainty created during the negotiation period for the UK’s new trading relationships. We don’t know how long those negotiations will take, or what impact there will be on our sector, but we do know that contractors can provide vital flexibility to meet the challenge.”
Meanwhile, as a light-hearted post-Brexit gesture, last week recruitment specialists CV-Library unveiled a customised stunt van, which was driven around Westminster for a day (see image).