With so much talk about the skills shortages currently facing the contracting industry, the latest ContractorCalculator Market Report for May 2015 unfortunately doesn't offer much sign of hope; but there are some positive findings to take away, too.
According to the report, the shortage of skilled contractors is still a threatening issue. While it spells good news for contractors, whose rates are going up in order to fill the void, it has potentially damaging economic prospects for the sector itself.
The benefit of this shortage was that pay improved across the core contracting disciplines during this time. In fact, more than two thirds of contractors are now being paid more than their permanent equivalents, partly because more business owners are willing to pay for short-term access to key strategic skills.
"Employment is at a record high, and yet businesses say they will need more staff if demand for their products or services increases," notes Kevin Green, CEO of the REC. "It's good news for jobseekers and people looking to move roles, but it's a headache for bosses as candidates become harder and harder to find."
As well as this, Morgan McKinley's London Employment Monitor shows that new roles increased by 19% month-on-month, as a result of increased business volumes and improved optimism.
The report also found that IT, finance and accounting contractors were enjoying a surge of growth in the capital's financial sector. Along with "strong optimism" in the sector, new opportunities rose by 20% last month, and financial services jobs by 19%.
On another positive note, IPSE's latest Kingston Report found that contractor numbers have increased to 1.88 million – that's a 35.1% increase since 2008, and this growth has no signs of slowing down. Analysts predict that this continuing pattern will help to resolve the skills crisis, while also giving contractors a greater standing with policymakers.
Dave Chaplin, CEO of ContractorCalculator, said this last finding "reinforces that individuals are proactively choosing to become independent professionals," rather than being driven by economic factors, as some previously suggested.