A new study has revealed that the UK's biggest contracting clients are paying contract workers higher rates than their permanent members of staff, Contractor Calculator reports.
According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation's latest JobsOutlook report, a staggering 71% of clients say that contract pay is higher than that of standard employees; while 84% cited the need to "gain short-term access to key strategic skills" as their mean reason to employ contract workers.
The fact that contractors are earning more than their permanent counterparts reflects the state of the current skills shortage in the UK, as those with the most in-demand skills are being offered increasingly high pay figures.
According to Contractor Calculator CEO Dave Chaplin, "it also shows that contractors are being hired because of their expertise. This presents contractors with a 'perfect storm' to benefit from."
However, Kevin Green – CEO of the REC – expressed his concern about the issue, noting that the lack of candidates with the skills employers are looking for is one of the biggest challenges the industry currently faces, and is restricting its ability to grow.
"Employment is at a record high, and yet businesses say they will need more staff if demand for their products or services increases," he explained. "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."
Two key areas that are particularly lacking in candidates are engineering and technical skills, the report found. It states that nearly a quarter (22%) of employers predict shortages in these skills in their permanent staff, while almost a third (32%) expected this in agency staff, too.