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Demand for Talent up 27% as Growth in the UK Economy Outperforms the EU


Professional recruitment firms now have 27% more vacancies on their books than this time last year according to new survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo). Its latest research comes as the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement reveals that the British economy is not only set to expand by 3% this year, significantly higher than the 2.4% forecasted, but it has also grown three times more than the Eurozone.

Growth across the board but engineering and IT lead the way

Beneath this headline figure, the latest data from APSCo reveals that growth in the professional staffing market continues to climb across all of the trade association’s core sector groups. Permanent vacancies across finance & accounting, IT, engineering and media & marketing are all up year-on-year (17%, 28%, 50% and 19% respectively). This is in keeping with the Chancellor’s announcement that a million new jobs have been created over the past year – significantly higher than the 265,000 estimated by the Office for Budget Responsibility.

The trade association’s data reveals that engineering and IT are outperforming all other sectors which can be attributed to a number of burgeoning areas. Looking at the IT arena, growth can be credited to a booming ‘app economy’ which has created an ongoing demand for developers and programmers, as well as the ongoing threat cyber-attacks are posing to businesses. This has, in turn, resulted in huge numbers of roles being created to protect organisations from ever more advanced hacking attempts. BAE Systems, for example, revealed this month that it is continuing its graduate recruitment drive within its cyber security division for the third consecutive year.

Looking more closely at the engineering sector, much of the jobs growth has been around the ongoing investment in infrastructure projects– something that, based on George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, shows no signs abating. The Government has, for example, revealed plans for the biggest road building programme for a generation which will add to the existing high demand for engineers to work on projects such as HS2.

Salaries mirror vacancy growth with the exception of finance & accounting and media & marketing APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors were up by a robust 3.1% year-on-year, a much healthier figure than last month’s shift of just 0.7%. This overall growth is characterised by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with engineering and IT recording uplifts of 9% and 2.9% respectively. However both the finance & accounting and media & marketing arenas have both reported decreases year-on-year (-2.2% and -3.3% respectively).

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo comments:
“As we approach the end of what has been an incredibly buoyant year for the professional staffing market, it seems clear to me that there is just one real challenge ahead. And that is the very real harm that talent shortages could do to organisations. It is not a new phenomenon that several sectors are already contending with a people crisis and unless businesses reassess their talent attraction strategies soon future growth could be scuppered. And at a time when the generalist recruiter is being replaced by ‘multi niche consultancies’, employers will do well to build solid relationships with these players that not only have access to global talent pools, but can also source the hard to fill vacancies in house teams simply can’t do ”.

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