Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Temporary employment market sees 33% upswing in hiring levels

A new report suggests that there has been a healthy upswing in hiring across the temporary employment market within three core sectors: Financial Services; Public Sector and Commerce & Industry

A new report suggests that there has been a healthy upswing in hiring across the temporary employment market within three core sectors: Financial Services; Public Sector and Commerce & Industry.

Despite the tough economic climate, and conflicting opinion that the UK is experiencing a double dip recession, there has been an increase of 33% in temporary hiring in the first three months of 2012 when compared with the latter quarter of 2011 throughout the UK.

This is according to the UKs only provider of temporary and contract staff to organisations in the Private and Public Sector, Venn Group <> . The company has just released the first of a quarterly report offering an overview of the vacancy levels, average salaries and in demand skills across the UK.

The North West Region has boasted the largest increase in hiring levels – 61% in the first quarter of 2012 with the Midlands and London also showing a healthy start to the year with increases of 59% and 36% respectively.

Whilst the Public Sector has, without any doubt, been particularly badly affected over the past few years, hiring levels for temporary employees has, as a result, increased by 38% across the UK. “This has been due to organisations seeking to drive down costs in the wake of Public Sector spending cuts and turning to temporary recruitment strategies which has allowed their workforce to retract and expand as necessary”, says Robert Bowyer, Director of Venn Group.

Within the Public Sector, HR professionals are in strong demand says Simon Taylor, director of Venn’s HR Public Sector division, “Interim HR professionals appear to be faring well – in particular those with experience of managing and implementing restructuring programmes within the NHS – as trusts ready themselves for impending restructuring in preparation for the arrival of the new Clinical Commissioning Groups”.  IT professionals are a sought after commodity within the NHS says Ross Gilder, director of Venn Public Sector IT division– “While hiring levels are not at the levels seen prior to the Global Financial Crisis, they are certainly on an upward trajectory. Candidates, however, are facing strong competition for these roles and must show they have the requisite skills and experience to secure a position.

The market for financial services professionals remains mixed with some areas showing healthy, and in fact, increased levels of hiring says Robert McLeod, Director at Venn Group. “Whilst the financial services sector has understandably suffered in the last few years, which is evident in a marginal 5% decrease in hiring activity, our London office in particular is seeing heightened hiring activity with a 58% increase.” Compliance professionals are in particular demand, largely due to increased regulation for both the EU and the UK explains McLeod. “As new teams have been created covering both advisory and implementation roles, today’s compliance professionals are a sought after commodity. As a result we are seeing an upward pressure on hourly and daily rates. A head of compliance, for example, can now expect upwards of £500 a day”.

Hiring activity within Venn’s Commerce & Industry division has been particularly strong in the first three months of 2012 with a 46% upturn when compared with the last quarter of 2011. London has seen the largest increase of 67% followed closely by the North West.  Commenting on this, Stan Murray Hession, Director of Venn’s North West office says “We are seeing increased demand for legal professionals in particular. Demand for Locums into Private Practice has intensified which can only be a positive sign for the legal professionals who can command lucrative rates  for lengthy contracts – typically between six and twelve months in length.” London’s Commerce & Industry division has seen heightened demand for professionals within the Hotel & Catering sector comments Simon Taylor - “The increase in hiring of temporary staff within this sector is indicative of companies ramping up their activity and preparation ahead of the Olympics where the need for temporary employees is paramount in the build up and during the games themselves”.

Rates for temporary professionals – both in the Private and Public sector – have been impressive with all divisions showing increases during the first quarter of 2012.  Interim day rates in London are unsurprisingly the highest with professional commanding an average of £260 followed closely by the South West with average rates of £254. Hourly rates in London currently stand at £17 however the Central & East is showing the highest rates of £23.

Commenting on the results of this report, Robert Bowyer, Director of Venn Group says: “Whilst there is no doubt that the employment market is experiencing turbulent times, in the first quarter of 2012 the temporary market appears to be faring very well. And perhaps what is particularly positive about our report is that it confirms that the impact of the Agency Workers Regulations has had a very limited effect on the use of temporary workers – something feared by many organisations and professionals in recent months”.