Rise in job vacancies

Professional recruitment firms now have 29% more vacancies on their books than this time last year, according to new survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

The survey shows permanent vacancies across finance & accounting, IT, engineering and media & marketing are all up year-on-year (16%, 31%, 53% and 15% respectively).

APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors were up by 3% year-on-year. This overall growth is characterised by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with engineering, for example, recording an uplift of 8%. However, both the media & marketing and sales fields report slight decreases year-on-year (-0.3% and -1.9% respectively).

Despite the figures, APSCo warns that it remains to be seen what impact the General Election will have on the professional recruitment market, particularly if there is a hung parliament. For this reason, APSCo says companies are likely to remain cautious surrounding hiring in early 2015 as CFOs resist investing in talent until the political landscape is less volatile.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo, says: “As we enter 2015, it is clear that the upsurge in vacancies we have recorded throughout the past twelve months is a real indicator of sustained economic stability. Despite this optimism, we predict that uncertainty in the run up to this year’s general election, and any associated impact on policy, may have an adverse effect on vacancy levels in early 2015 as organisations put the brakes on hiring to wait for greater stability. Consequently, we will not be surprised if vacancy numbers dip in quarters one and two, however we expect these to recover in a flurry of hiring activity in the early summer months.”

John Nurthen, Executive Director, Global Research for Staffing Industry Analysts, which compiles the report for APSCo, said:  “It’s reassuring that the good growth in permanent vacancies which began in the second half of 2013 has followed through right to the end of 2014. And it is unfortunate that the early part of 2015 will be shrouded in uncertainty given upcoming elections.

“What potentially makes this electoral uncertainty even more damaging this time around is that a win for the Conservatives (either by a majority or with coalition partners) means that there will be an In-Out referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU by the end of 2017. So, even with the election concluded, we might be facing a two-year hiatus when business will not know whether the UK will remain a member of the European Union or not. For many employers, business planning for 2016 and 2017 may become a somewhat myopic affair.”

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