Demand for professional talent up 29% as one in three UK workers plan to move jobs

Published:  13 January, 2015

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). This increase in opportunities coincides with the latest research from the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) which has announced that 37% of workers are planning to leave their current jobs in 2015 - a dramatic increase from 2014 (19%) and 2013 (13%).

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 associationís core sector groups. Permanent vacancies across finance & accounting, IT, engineering and media & marketing are all up year-on-year (16%, 31%, 53% and 15% respectively). This positive sentiment is in line with recent figures released by the CBI, which reported that half of British businesses are planning to expand their workforce in 2015.

The phenomenal growth of the engineering sector over the past year can largely be attributed to government initiatives to improve infrastructure. Ongoing projects such as HS2 and Crossrail continue to drive an acute need for experienced talent to work in the sector. Despite a slight slowdown in productivity last month, the latest Purchasing Managersí Index (PMI) by data firm Markit/CIPS shows growth rates remain well above historical averages in this area, and the falling price of crude oil should further help boost trade and drive opportunities in engineering.

APSCoís figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors were up by a respectable 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 arenas have both stalled somewhat, reporting slight decreases year-on-year (-0.3% and -1.9% respectively). This average rise in remuneration is in keeping with the Bank of Englandís Monetary Policy Committee which forecasts pay rises in the coming year.

Despite this positivity, however, APSCo warns that it remains to be seen what impact the General Election will have on the professional recruitment market. The latest Deloitte CFO Survey, for example, reveals that the Mayís General Election is of major concern to organisations. In fact, when asked to rate the level of risk posed on a scale of 0 to 100, CFOs attached a 63 rating to the General Election Ė significantly higher than the 56 attached to deflation of the Euro or the 39 points awarded to further cuts in spending. This may be because many analysts have predicted that, given the surge in support for smaller parties such as Ukip, the SNP and the Greens, a hung parliament is a real possibility. For this reason, companies are likely to remain cautious surrounding hiring in early 2015 as CFOs resist investing in talent until the political landscape is less volatile.

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