Professional recruitment firms had 4% more vacancies on their books in December 2015 than the same period the previous year, according to new survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).
This is in line with the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, (ONS) which reveals that overall employment levels increased by 588,000 year-on-year in the three months to November.
Finance sector driving growth
The data reveals notable variations between the trade association’s core sector groups in terms of hiring activity. Permanent vacancies across finance & accounting and media & marketing, for example, were up year-on-year (16% and 8% respectively). Conversely, vacancies in engineering and IT dipped (by 14% and 4% respectively).
The continued boom of the financial and accounting sectors is mirrored by the research from recruitment consultancy Robert Half UK, which found that 38% of CFOs struggle to find and retain professionals with the right skills amid increasing workloads and upward pressure on salaries.
Average salaries continue to climb
APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors continue to climb steadily, increasing by 5.5% year-on-year. This figure is characterised by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with consultancy and banking, for example, recording uplifts of 11.1% and 10.4% respectively. This rise in remuneration within the professional arena exceeds the national increase in salaries as reported by the ONS which found that average earnings grew at an annual rate of 1.9% in the three months to November 2015.
Contract vacancies remain stable
Temporary and contract vacancies remain in-line with permanent positions across the professional staffing market with opportunities also up by 4% year-on-year. Vacancies within finance and accounting were particularly strong, skyrocketing by 66%.