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UK – Technology sector driving professional staffing market growth

03 February 2014

Encouraging GDP results, which reveal that the UK’s economy has grown at its fastest rate since 2007, are fuelling impressive growth across the professional jobs market. The latest data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) revealed that placements, across all professionals sectors, have increased year-on-year, in both the permanent and contracting segments (+8.4% and +8.7%, respectively).

While impressive GDP figures are fuelling overall employment growth, APSCo’s data showed that the technology sector is showing the most marked recovery.  On a month-on-month basis, the number of overall vacancies increased by +3.5%, signalling six months of consecutive growth within this sector. 

APSCo’s data also revealed that, whilst some sectors are increasingly relying on contractors to plug skills gaps, employers within the technology space are using flexible labour as a matter of course – driven largely by project work – with +11% more contract positions over the last year than permanent ones. 

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo commented: “Our data, coupled with really encouraging GDP results, makes me confident that the hard times the professional staffing sector has faced in recent years are truly behind us.  With impressive growth across all sectors, 2014 looks set to be a turning point for job seekers and employers alike.  Despite this positivity, however, we still need to remain cautious and ensure that the UK doesn’t face a critical skills shortage – something certain sectors are already contending with”.

John Nurthen, Executive Director International Development for Staffing Industry Analysts, who compiles the report for APSCo, commented: “There are already more IT workers in the UK than in any other European country and while the strong demand we are seeing at the moment should enable the UK to maintain this lead, most countries are recording increases in IT employment.”

“The burgeoning e-commerce/m-commerce industries are reporting pressing needs for experienced project managers. At the same time, new skillsets are appearing such as user experience designers (UXD), which incorporate the technical skills of a user interface designer but with a strong awareness for marketing and sales strategies. In fact, marketing and sales skills are now essential in many senior IT roles, where technical skills are no longer enough. Other IT skillsets that are trending up are security experts, social media architects (again, incorporating marketing skills), and cloud computing specialists,” Mr Nurthen added. 

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