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Demand for professional talent up 41% as business confidence soars

• Permanent vacancies increase 41% year-on-year
• Businesses struggling to attract permanent marketing talent
• Salaries rise but employers pay the price of below average remuneration packages

Professional recruitment firms now have 41% 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 Treasury’s GDP growth forecast* for the UK economy now stands at 3.1%, still significantly higher than the 1.8% expected at the beginning of the year, albeit only marginally higher than last month (3%).

All professional sectors reporting strong growth
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 engineering, finance & accounting, IT and media & marketing are up year-on-year (48%, 19%, 25% and 20% respectively). This strong growth is in keeping with Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR) which reveals that confidence amongst UK companies is just shy of its all-time high. Over the past three months optimism has increased to 82%, well above European counterparts – such as Germany - where confidence has been severely knocked due to changes across the Eurozone.

Businesses struggling to attract permanent marketing talent

Despite this positivity, however, businesses are struggling to attract permanent marketing professionals. The trade association’s data reveals that, despite vacancies rising by 20%, placements have fallen by 6% suggesting a marked shortage of available talent. APSCo’s statistics also show that temporary marketing positions are rising (15% year-on-year) suggesting that businesses are relying on short term cover to maintain service levels.

Salaries rise but employers fail to entice permanent marketing professionals with below par packages

APSCo’s data reveals that, despite struggling to attract permanent marketing talent, salaries have decreased (-3%) suggesting that employers are not offering attractive enough packages to entice candidates. This is in keeping with the latest research from APSCo member, Robert Half, which warns that, with hiring returning to pre-recessionary levels, and businesses increasingly recognising that the available talent pool is shrinking, it is crucial that their remuneration packages are competitive with other businesses in their industry and region.
Elsewhere, APSCo’s data reveals that median salaries across the engineering and IT arenas continue to climb steadily (10% and 3% respectively) year-on-year.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo comments:

“While our data once again points to increased confidence amongst employers, it is crystal clear that some organisations are simply failing to offer attractive enough remuneration packages to secure highly skilled marketing talent. With an already present skills shortage in the digital arena which is set to exacerbate in the coming years, businesses risk stalling their own growth if they don’t reassess their attraction packages urgently”.

John Nurthen, Executive Director, Global Research for Staffing Industry Analysts, which compiles the report for APSCo, comments:

“A 41% increase in vacancies is truly an impressive figure and staffing firms will be feeling bullish as we enter the busy final quarter of the year. There is reason to exercise some caution in planning the year ahead, however. UK economic growth is expected to be rather softer in 2015 and the country is not immune from any deterioration in global economic trends.”

Notes to editors:
* From July 2014, APSCo has used the Treasury’s growth forecast for the UK economy – which includes a comparison of independent forecasts – as a basis of it GDP data reported in the Recruitment Index.
Professional Recruitment Trends is the only monthly publication providing original data and analysis on the professional staffing market. It is produced jointly by APSCo and Staffing Industry Analysts.
APSCo is the membership body that is dedicated to representing professional recruitment in the UK. It was formed to give all firms involved in the recruitment of professional talent who have a commitment to excellence, the specialist support and distinctive voice they need to be successful. It gives candidates and employers a trusted badge of quality whilst providing member firms with an innovative range of services designed for them by recruitment experts. These services, combined with its growing international profile, commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility and opportunities for professional networking give APSCo members a unique opportunity to develop their businesses and gain competitive advantage (
Staffing Industry Analysts is the premier advisory service about the contingent workforce. Known for its independent and objective insights, the company’s proprietary research, award winning content, data, support tools, publications, and executive conferences provide a competitive edge to decision-makers who supply and buy temporary staffing.
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