A recent report from Markit and REC has shown that the hiring market in the UK is growing at its fastest rate in two years – with temporary hirings overtaking permanent in speed of growth.
The 400 different recruitment firms polled showed an overall increase in demand across permanent and temporary hiring but temporary billings overtook permanent to reach a two-and-a-half year high.
The Brexit Effect
This increase in demand for temporary workers has largely been attributed to the Brexit Effect. With so much uncertainty still surrounding the future rights of workers from the EU to stay in the UK employers are having difficulty securing people for long-term permanent contracts in parts of the country or industries in which there is a high employment rate for EU nationals. REC Chief Executive Kevin Green states, “If they are hiring — and anecdotally we get this a lot — it will be more difficult to bring people in [from the EU] because they’re unsure of what their status is going to be,”. Instead, firms are starting to take people on with temporary contracts until the real impact of Brexit becomes more clear.
This change has affected London in particular. While 7% of the UK’s workforce is made up of EU nationals, in the capital the figure is closer to 17% and permanent hire growth has actually slowed in all industries from blue collar positions to financial services. As Mr Green stated, “When there’s uncertainty — think about financial services — you just get someone to fill in for a three-month period or a six-month period until you see what’s going to pan out.”
In the rest of the country however market growth remains high for both permanent and temporary positions, with the strongest increase in permanent hirings recorded in the Midlands and the strongest increase in temporary hirings recorded in the North.
Combine this uncertainty with an unemployment rate that is at a 42-year low of 4.5% and you’re left with a situation in which both permanent and temporary workers are increasingly in demand. The REC report noted that the availability of workers overall has fallen steeply over the past two years and that employers are finding it harder than ever to find workers qualified to fill their positions.
If you’re a temp worker however, this is all fairly good news. Not only are temporary contracts on the rise, starting salaries are too, as companies attempt to attract the remaining skilled workers that are available. If you’re on the lookout for a new temp position, we’d definitely suggest that now is the time to start looking.