Employers turn to contractors during economic uncertainty

(2 minutes to read)

More employers are turning to contract/temp staff in order to support their businesses while the long-term economic picture is unclear.

According to latest findings, permanent staff appointments fell even further during April, while contract/temp billings grew significantly.

The recent KPMG and Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s (REC) UK Report on Jobs indicated that uncertainty towards the outlook continued to impact hiring activity.

The report, which is compiled by IHS Markit from responses to questionnaires sent to a panel of around 400 UK recruitment and employment consultancies, signalled that permanent placements fell slightly for the third time in 2019 so far. In contrast, billings received from the employment of short-term staff rose strongly.

Recruitment consultants widely commented that Brexit-related uncertainty had impacted on hiring decisions.

The quickest increase in temporary staff vacancies was again seen in nursing/medical/care last month. Blue collar and hotel & catering completed the top three in the rankings.

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Neil Carberry, Recruitment & Employment Confederation chief executive, commented, “Today’s report shows the continued strength, agility and flexibility of the UK labour market. In uncertain times, employers are turning to temporary work to support their business and offer people opportunity while the long-term economic picture is unclear.

“There are signs that the jobs market is gently weakening for permanent roles, despite ongoing issues of skills and candidate shortages. This too is likely to be associated with uncertainty about the future path of our economy.

“We should be proud of how our jobs market has adapted to challenging circumstances. Resolving Brexit will bring some certainty, but we must also take bold steps to fix the underlying problems suggested by these figures, including reforming the apprenticeship levy to allow training for agency workers so that they can fill shortage roles.”

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