SJD Accountancy

January REC reports show significant opportunities for contractors

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The latest Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) JobsOutlook report was published earlier this month, and it makes an interesting read for limited company contractors. This is primarily due to the availability of candidates for a wide variety of roles has continued to decrease – now at the lowest point for over three years.

The report showed that almost half (48%) of those surveyed expect to face a shortage of suitably skilled candidates for jobs next year, while just under a third (32%) said that they would need more workers in the near future to be able to accept new work.

Availability of contract and other temporary workers fell at the fastest rate since August, and the availability of permanent staff also continued to drop significantly. So, with such a marked shortage of skills being identified, there should be numerous opportunities for contractors with the correct skills to fill those roles. It should also be noted that the demand for non-permanent staff in the public sector specifically increased towards the end of 2016, and this was also at the fastest rate for three months.

Meanwhile, the REC’s JobsOutlook report showed that billings for contract and other temporary workers rose at the fastest rate since last April, across all regions involved in the survey – which again is great news for contractors. Looking at regional variations, billings in the North experienced the fastest growth rate overall, while Scotland saw an increase in demand for the first time since August, alongside a decrease in permanent roles being filled for the third month running.

In terms of industries, all sectors apart from construction showed an increase in the requirement for non-permanent staff – and this was also the same for permanent workers. Looking at contractors and other temporary staff specifically, the growth in demand was at its strongest in the hotel and catering industry during December, while nursing, medical and care also showed an increase, alongside various blue collar roles.

Commenting on the JobsOutlook report, REC Chief Executive Kevin Green said, “The jobs market continues to beat expectations as we begin the New Year. More people are finding jobs each month, and demand for staff is growing. We’ve seen two months of growth in London, which is particularly encouraging following a difficult period between the EU referendum and October.     

The big question for 2017 is about how employers will fill vacancies. The unemployment rate is at a record low and candidate availability for temporary jobs has been getting worse for the last three and a half years. There is an urgent need for people to fill roles in catering, care, and food manufacturing.”

At a wider level, this latest survey shows that business confidence is improving, with almost a third of respondents stating that they feel economic conditions are improving, which is an increase from the previous quarter. So, taking this information on board – 2017 should be great year to carry on as a limited company contractor, or think about contracting for the first time.

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