Growth in professional jobs exceeds expectation


For the fourth consecutive month, data to end July 2017 has shown robust growth in permanent placements across most professional sectors.

With data from the Office of National Statistics showing that the employment rate reached 75.1 per cent in the three months to June, (the highest level since records began in 1971), the white-collar market is showing a marked resilience to economic fluctuations.

The strongest sector is Finance with +9 per cent year on year increase in permanent placements and +22 per cent increase in flexible assignments.   Against a backdrop of a general decline in median salaries, the Finance sector showed salary growth of +0.6 per cent in July representing an increase of +4.9 per cent against the same period a year ago, with members of the Association of Staffing Companies reporting significantly higher levels of growth in remuneration – often being packaged as bonus to attract talent in a highly competitive candidate-driven market.

Engineering has also remained buoyant with an increase of +8 per cent y/y in permanent placements and +19 per cent increase in the number of flexible assignments.  Salaries rose +0.3 per cent for the month of July representing a 2.7 per cent increase against the same period a year ago.

In contrast, the IT sector has, surprisingly, shown a decline of -6 per cent in permanent positions and -13 per cent in flexible assignments against the same time last year.

And, Social Work has declined for the fifth consecutive month, with July data showing a decrease of -0.8 per cent in permanent placements, with -22 per cent decrease in the number of flexible assignments, and with a worrying +50 per cent year on year increase in forward demand in the number of vacancies advertised, indicating a sharp rise in the number of jobs that remain unfulfilled.

Speaking of behalf of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies, CEO Ann Swain says: “The market is remaining robust in professional sectors as employers continue to implement pragmatic talent acquisition strategies in an uncertain market and increase their headcount.   However, as the competition for talent becomes increasingly evident in months’ ahead, the future is set to be more uncertain when it comes to the creation of new jobs.

“Our regional data also shows a degree of movement in geographical demographics as candidates look to move out of London to potentially improve their quality of life and cost of living versus earning ratio in some professional sectors e.g. IT and Marketing”.

John Nurthen for SIA which produces the monthly Professional Recruitment Trends Report added: “Unusually, we are seeing continuing deterioration in both the demand and supply for IT professionals at a time when permanent and flexible jobs in Engineering and Finance are doing well. This contrast suggests that general economic and Brexit trends are being experienced in quite diverse ways across the UK jobs market.”