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Latest findings show that vacancies are significantly above pre-Covid levels as skills shortages across the UK remain high.

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) report, using data provided by Bullhorn, revealed that despite figures showing a decline in jobs between October and November, contract vacancies were up 16% between November 2019 and November 2022.

Ann Swain, Global CEO of APSCo, said, “We are seeing the recruitment market slow which is to be expected following the highs noted in the first half of the year. However, this doesn’t mean that the market is contracting as recession fears grow. In fact, pre-Covid comparisons show that recruitment activity is still significantly above pre-pandemic levels.

“This suggests that the UK remains in a tight talent landscape with skilled resources still in short supply despite the economic slowdown. This scenario will put greater pressure on the staffing sector to find the talent that clients desperately need and on employers to ensure they create the right environment and offer the appropriate remuneration to both attract and retain these resources.”

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Joseph Buckley, Manager, Business Analytics, Bullhorn, added, “Jobs seem to have remained fairly steady following the reasonably level trend over the last few months.

“Meanwhile, permanent placements appear to be continuing their gradual descent as the year comes to an end; this tracks well with ratios we’ve seen internally, as conversion rates have shrunk consistently since their peak earlier in the year.

“It may not be a simple drop in productivity but more an indication of the market calming down after a bumper year.

“Contract sales continues its two-month spike, which compared to the stable trend for contract placement count, could indicate a disproportionate number of long or high-value urgent assignments being booked as the year comes to a close.”

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