The white collar jobs market in the UK continued its recovery in February, the month being particularly good for engineering, accounting and finance professionals. However, the latest set of data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) came with the warning that the professional jobs market appeared to be on the verge of a serious talent shortage.
The danger was clearly indicated by the February figures for placements and vacancies in the finance and accounting sectors. Demand for temporary workers increased sharply, with placements surging by 41% on the year. Permanent placements went up by nearly 30%, while vacancies rose by more than 14%. The robust demand in the temp category can be partly attributed to lack of sufficient personnel to handle specific projects but APSCo also sees it as indicative of a shortage of professionals willing to commit permanently.
Meanwhile, the number of vacancies advertised online jumped by almost 30% between January and February.
APSCo’s data on engineering placements confirmed figures published earlier in the CIPS Purchasing Managers Index (PMI). Both reports highlighted the boost engineering employment was receiving from the expansion in the manufacturing sector. According to APSCo, placements of both permanent and temporary workers went up by nearly 10% year-on-year. Meanwhile, the number of vacancies advertised online jumped by almost 30% between January and February.
APSCo chief executive Ann Swain welcomed the positive results but was quick to point out that this encouraging picture had to be viewed with caution. Now that the UK economy has returned to growth the skills shortage will be very keenly felt by companies that economised on recruitment and staff training during the recession, Swain noted.