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The self-employed sector remains on positive ground with many UK businesses turning to contract workers during this time of economic uncertainty.

The recent REC/KPMG UK Report on Jobs revealed that the rate of expansion for permanent staff was the softest seen in 20 years. Contract/temp billings meanwhile rose at a much sharper rate, as did rates of pay, which also remained sharp by historical standards.

Blue Collar remained at the top of the rankings for contract/temp staff demand during December. Short-term vacancies also rose across all of the other nine monitored categories.

Neil Carberry, Recruitment & Employment Confederation chief executive, said, “It’s no surprise that growth in new permanent jobs dropped to its lowest level in almost two years last month, because economic uncertainty is now affecting companies’ hiring plans. But the underlying strength of our labour market is still there – vacancies are high and temporary placements rose in the run-up to Christmas. There are opportunities out there for people who want to change job in 2019.

“Businesses will be looking for certainty on Brexit plans soon, so that they can get on with driving growth and jobs. Recruiters will be helping employers to do that – high employment rates mean that there are significant shortages in some parts of our labour market.

“The pre-Christmas rush put a squeeze on logistics jobs in December so it was no surprise to see blue-collar roles topping the skills shortage list in this survey. Accounting, engineering, hospitality and healthcare all stand out as shortage sectors in today’s data.”

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