Contractors in pole position as demand accelerates

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Contractors are enjoying a bumper 2015 as assignment opportunities continue their upward trajectory, a new study has found.

Research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) reveals that demand for temporary and contract workers jumped by 4.4% across the board in February when compared to the previous year. Media & marketing and accounting & finance vacancies recorded the biggest growth, posting an increase of 9% and 1.5% respectively.

APSCo claimed the current boom in contracting and self-employment was the result of a “structural shift” in the UK workforce, as ageing professionals and women especially have made the leap from permanent employment in search of more flexible hours.

Ann Swain, APSCo’s chief executive, said: “Contract vacancy rates no longer directly correlate with the number of permanent positions. A record 15% of the UK workforce is now self-employed, which is a sign of our nation’s desire for flexibility, driven by entrepreneurial spirit.”

The report comes after the latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) JobsOutlook survey revealed that 39% of businesses feel they are unable to take on extra work without hiring more staff. A further 56% only have “a little” capacity.

REC’s study revealed that the proportion of firms with limited or no spare capacity has increased by 5% since August 2014, while those reporting “a fair amount of space” has halved over the same period.

The news could be music to the ears of contractors, who are always ready to step in and offer clients short-term access to key skills. This is particularly true for freelancers working in technical and engineering sectors, as 24% of firms told REC they anticipate a talent shortage over the coming months.

Have your say

Are you a contractor? Have you noticed an increase in demand for your services? Do you think that 2015 will continue to be a prosperous year? Join in the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below.