APSCo Data: Permanent hiring and average salaries on the up as contractor demand falls

New research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) in July reveals that Professional recruitment firms are reporting increased numbers of candidates securing permanent roles in July 2018, representing a 10% year-on-year increase.

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 33% and 10% respectively over the 12 month period, the number of marketing professionals securing permanent roles during this time slipped by 11%.

Vacancies for permanent staff, meanwhile, remained largely stable across the board, dipping by just 3% in July 2018.

Contract market remains slow

Demand for contractors continued to slow in July 2018, with vacancies decreasing by 7% across the board. The number of contractors out on assignment in July 2018 was 15% lower than the previous year.

Despite this overall dip, the contract market within financial services remains strong with demand for non-permanent professionals up 27% year-on-year across the sector. The number of finance contractors out on assignment increased by 3% in July 2018.

This strength is likely to be attributed to Brexit uncertainty, with some firms hesitant to increase permanent headcount until there is more clarity around service exports once Britain leaves the union.

IT contractors move to perm as off-payroll working rules change

The most significant swing in hiring activity can be seen within the IT sector, where the number of contractors out on assignment plummeted by 33% year-on-year in July 2018. Permeant placements within the sector, meanwhile, increased by the same percentage over the same period.

This can likely be attributed to recent changes to legislation around off-payroll working in the public sector, and the possibility that these rules will soon be extended to the private sector.

Average salaries stable

APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors increased by 1.3% year-on-year. This figure is characterised by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with insurance, for example, recording an uplift of 2.5% while banking salaries dipped by 4.5%.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo said:

“While overall hiring activity remains strong, the current climate is certainly creating interesting activity in the market. Britain’s exports of financial services to the European Union hit a record high last year, and although firms need talent to meet demand, many are understandably reluctant to bring on board permanent talent. However, while contractor demand within financial services is booming, IT professionals seem to be turning to permanent positions. While changes, and proposed amends, to IR35 will certainly have played a hand in this shift, it is unclear if it is largely employers – or the professionals themselves – who are leading this revolution.”

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

“While our survey detects year-on-year weakness in placements and vacancies for temporary jobs, the general labour market shows signs of health, with 32.4 million persons employed and total job vacancies up 6.6% to reach 829,000.”