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Interim and contract opportunities fall over election uncertainty

• Employment opportunities fall by 1% over election uncertainty
• Digital and construction demand leads the way
• Skills shortages push up contractor rates

New analysis of the contract recruitment market reveals that there has been a marginal drop in vacancy levels (1%) when compared to the same time last year. Venn Group, the contract recruitment specialist, which compiled the research, attributes this to a slowdown in recruitment activity in the latter months of 2014 as uncertainty surrounding the general election gained momentum. This is in keeping with findings from The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) which reveals that a potential Conservative victory, which would mean an in-out referendum vote on the UK’s membership of the EU, will only serve to create even more uncertainty around the job market.

Digital and construction sectors lead jobs growth

Beneath this headline figure, Venn Group’s analysis reveals that, despite the overall fall in vacancy levels, sectors such as construction and digital grew substantially throughout 2014. Venn’s data reveals that within the construction arena there was an 11% increase in contract vacancies which can be attributed, in part, to wide spread development projects such as the Crossrail train line that has already created roles for thousands of contractors.

Elsewhere, there has been continued demand across the board for digital specialists illustrated in a 17% rise in contract vacancy levels. Venn Group attributes this largely to the ongoing convergence of technology into business activity and the resulting demand for professionals who can assist in embedding and installing complex systems into pre-existing infrastructure.

Skills shortages push up contractor rates

Venn Group’s analysis also reveals that several sectors are contending with acute skill shortages which is, in turn, prompting employers to turn to the contractor market to source the requisite skill sets to ensure work levels are maintained. Across the digital arena, for example, the most highly sought after professionals – including infrastructure project consultants and service development managers - are able to secure rates in excess of £550 per day.

Jodie Finn, associate director at Venn Group, comments:
“Our analysis clearly demonstrates the critical role that contractors play in the success of UK businesses. Despite the overall fall in vacancy levels as a result of caution surrounding the looming election, 2014 was an incredibly positive year for employers and contractors. The only dark cloud on the horizon is the true extent to which the election result will have on the recruitment landscape. While we know from conversations with clients that they will be focussing on hiring business critical staff in the lead up to the election, what we don’t know is how hiring could change if, for example, the UK is faced with the prospect of an in-out referendum vote on the UK’s membership of the EU, or worse still a hung parliament. Consequently the coming months could be a real gamer changer for the recruitment landscape”.

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