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UK – Professional recruiters see mixed demand for staff

11 March 2013

The latest data from The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) and Staffing Industry Analysts reveals a mixed picture for the professional temporary and permanent recruitment markets.

While temporary placements rose by +4.5% in January, vacancies fell by -4.5% on the prior year. The downward trend accelerated in the permanent staffing market with placements dropping by an annual -4.5%, and vacancies by -8.8%. Demand for permanent staff was down sharply in London and the South East.

Temporary staffing appears to be more resilient with recent figures by the Office for National Statistics also showing that over a third of new jobs within the economy are classed as temporary.

Chief executive of APSCo, Ann Swain, said: “While one swallow does not make a summer, this latest data does seem to suggest a slight thawing of the bleak conditions experienced by professional job seekers over recent years.

“It is important to recognise that temporary placements within the professional sectors such as engineering, IT and finance do not equate to short term cover assignments but rather to longer term contract and project work offering not only a viable alternative to those seeking permanent employment but also a great deal of flexibility to both employers and employees.”

John Nurthen, executive director at Staffing Industry Analysts, said short-term engineering and IT contractors were particularly in demand. “Once again, we have seen slower demand for full-time personnel being counterbalanced by increased usage of temporary and contract workers across all professional job categories.

“Staffing firms have been successfully finding work for their IT contractors since the beginning of 2011 and this sector remains the most solid. Engineering contractors have also benefited from a stronger environment since the autumn and there are some signs now that finance and accounting may at last have begun to stabilise.”

Subscribers to Staffing Industry Analysts’ research can download the latest job report here.

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