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Professional hiring up 13% as economy accelerates

• Permanent opportunities increase 13% year-on-year
• IT leading boom in vacancies
• Contract vacancies rise by 2% year-on-year
• Average salaries up 5.7%

Professional recruitment firms now have 13% more vacancies on their books than this time last year according to new survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo). This annual increase is in line with reports from the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR), which show that UK economic growth picked up in the three months to May. APSCo’s data also coincides with the latest ONS figures which show that the number of people in work has increased by 114,000 in the three months to April, driving UK employment to 31.05 million.

IT leading boom in roles

The latest data from APSCo reveals that year-on-year growth in the professional staffing market continues to climb across many of the trade association’s core sector groups. Permanent vacancies across finance & accounting, IT and engineering are all up year-on-year (10%, 14% and 12% and respectively).

The rapid growth of the IT sector, which APSCo has reported in recent months, is in keeping with research from Deloitte which found ‘the maker community’ - the name given to people who apply ‘DIY culture’ to business and technology in a collaborative and experimental environment - is estimated to support up to 298,000 jobs across the country and contribute £18bn to the UK economy.

Average salaries up

APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors have risen by 5.7% year-on-year. This figure is characterised by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with engineering and finance, for example, recording uplifts of 7% and 4.6% respectively. This rise in remuneration within the professional sectors exceeds the average rise in earnings as reported by the ONS, which found that wages grew at an annual rate of 2.7% in the three months to April 2015.

John Nurthen, Executive Director, Global Research for Staffing Industry Analysts, which compiles the report for APSCo, comments:
“To see such solid growth in demand across all three of the main professional segments suggests that the lift in salaries reported of 5.7% might be only beginning of a period of wage inflation. This will come as a shock to many businesses where wages have been subdued since the global financial crisis.”

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo comments:
“The fact that wages have jumped so significantly across the professional sectors is a sure sign that market confidence is soaring. Organisations are scrambling to get their hands on the brightest talent, and those that can offer attractive remuneration packages stand a fighting chance. The CBI’s latest growth indicator found that economic expansion in the three months to May reached its strongest rate since the same month last year, and against this backdrop it is unsurprising that vacancies are up 13% during the same period.”

Contract vacancies remain resilient

Temporary and contract vacancies remain resilient across the professional staffing market with opportunities up by 2% across the board year-on-year. Vacancies across media & marketing, however, are particularly strong, rising by 6%. This is in line with PwC's Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2015-2019, which found the sector is currently enjoying a four-year boom, with estimates that the UK entertainment and media sector will be worth £66.6bn in 2019, up from £56.9bn in 2014.

Swain continues;
“Despite the fact that permanent vacancies dipped by 1% within the marketing and media sectors, contract roles in the field are up by 6%. This is in line with widespread reports of skills shortages within the field, with O2 finding the talent gap could cost the economy up to £2 billion a year. Consequently, smart contractors with the required skills are cashing in on this flurry of demand.”


Notes to editors:

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.

For more information, contact BlueSky PR on 01582 790 700 (

Tracey Barrett
BlueSky PR
01582 790702

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