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businesses are locking in vital skills that are becoming increasingly harder to source on a contingent basis

- Permanent placements increase by 10%
- Vacancies for permanent professionals dip 2%
- Vacancies for IT professionals up 8%
- IT perm placements jump 46%
- Average salaries remain stable

Permanent hiring up

Professional recruitment firms reported that the number of candidates securing permanent roles in August 2018 increased by 10% year-on-year, according to new survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

APSCo’s research, which focuses on professional recruitment, reveals notable variations between the trade association’s core sector groups in terms of hiring activity. While permanent placements within IT and financial services increased by 46% and 6% respectively over the 12 month period, the number of engineering professionals securing permanent roles during this time slipped by 2%.

Vacancies for permanent staff, meanwhile, remained largely stable across the board, dipping by just 2% in August 2018.

Contract market remains slow

Demand for contractors continued to slow in August 2018, with vacancies decreasing by 6% across the board. The number of contractors out on assignment in August 2018 was 14% lower than the previous year.

Despite this overall dip, the contract market within financial services remains strong with demand for non-permanent professionals up 26% year-on-year across the sector. The number of finance contractors out on assignment increased by 6% in August 2018.

This heightened demand for contractors within financial services can likely be attributed to employers being unwilling to bring on board permanent talent amid Brexit uncertainty, which the publication of the recent paper Banking, insurance and other financial services if there's no Brexit deal, will have done little to abate.

IT market bucks the trend

While demand for permanent professionals dipped by 2% across the board, vacancies for IT professionals increased by 8% year-on-year in August 2018. Similarly, while contract vacancies slipped by 6%, vacancies for IT contractors rose by 3%.

The number of IT contractors out on assignment in August 2018 was 30% lower than August 2017, which can largely be attributed to recent changes - and further anticipated amendments - to IR35 legislation making non-permanent employment a less attractive choice for talent and employers alike. However, when juxtaposed against a significant 46% year-on-year rise in permanent placements, it is evident that the IT market remains particularly strong.

This increase in demand for IT talent is reflected in the finding of PwC’s latest CEO Survey, which revealed that 76% of CEOs are concerned about the lack of digital skills within their own workforce.

Average salaries stable

APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors remained flat in August 2018. Despite a 0% rise across the board, there are notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with accountancy and engineering recording uplifts of 2.4% and 1.3% respectively.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo comments:

“Brexit uncertainty continues to cause ripples across the professional jobs market, and the latest reports that the Prime Minister’s Chequers deal is ‘dead’ are unlikely to improve matters in the near future. However, despite the turbulent climate, overall placement numbers remain strong, even if demand is beginning to wane.

“The big success story this month is perm IT placements, which have increased almost 50% year-on-year. While much of this activity can be attributed to a fall in the use of IT contractors, permanent placements still far outstrip this drop. It seems that, against the current backdrop, businesses are locking in vital skills that are becoming increasingly harder to source on a contingent basis.”

John Nurthen, Staffing Industry Analysts’ Executive Director of Global Research commented:

“Professional staffing firms have received fewer vacancies for both permanent and temporary/contract jobs compared to last year. While they have managed to make up for this drop in demand by identifying more candidates for permanent roles compared to last year (placements are actually up 10%), temporary/contract placements are down by 14% showing that supply is even weaker than demand.”

- Ends

Carly Smith
BlueSky PR
T: +44 (0)1582 790 708

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 (

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