Demand for UK Talent up by more than a Quarter

Published: 10 March 2015

According to new survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), the demand for professional UK talent has risen by 26% in comparison to this time last year. This increase in opportunities coincides with the latest research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which has found that the UK employment rate has hit the highest level since records began, with employment increasing by 103,000 in the three months to December driving the proportion of people currently in work to 73.2%.

Beneath this headline figure, the latest data from APSCo reveals that growth in the UK recruitment market continues to climb across all of the trade association’s core sector groups. Permanent vacancies across Finance & Accounting, IT, Engineering, and Media & Marketing are all up, year-on-year, by 16%, 27%, 48%, and 7%, respectively. This positivity is in line with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) most recent report, which recognised that the British economy expanded by 2.6% in 2014 and that “the building blocks have been placed to have a long-term growth”.

The continual growth of the Manufacturing and Engineering sector can largely be attributed to a buoyant Manufacturing industry, coupled with government initiatives to improve infrastructure. According to the latest CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), manufacturing output expanded for the twenty third consecutive month in January 2015, thanks to a further increase in new orders, primarily from the domestic market.

APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors were up by a healthy 4.9%, year-on-year. This overall growth is characterised by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with Engineering and Finance recording uplifts of 10.6% and 7.6% respectively. This average rise in remuneration is in keeping with recent predictions from economic forecaster EY Item Club, which has reported that UK workers are set to see their real pay rise in 2015 for the first time since 2007, representing a 1.8% uplift this year and further steady increases thereafter.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo, commented: “The UK’s economic dark clouds are now well and truly lifting. This positivity, coupled with falling oil prices, has no doubt contributed to the fortunes of the Engineering and Manufacturing sectors in recent months. However, according to the manufacturers’ organisation EEF, industrial bosses fear that Britain is in danger of being left behind in the “fourth industrial revolution” if the next government fails to frame an industrial policy that frees up corporate investment and improves the nation’s skills base. In order to sustain this growth it is vital that the Manufacturing & Engineering sector continues to invest in the development of talent to aid future innovation and prosperity.”

Ultimately therefore employers who want to successfully appoint the required talent to drive growth and take advantage of the current economic up-turn and rising confidence, will need to be pro-active and imaginative in their future recruitment campaigns. Plus they will also need to have a strong, transparent and candid relationship with a leading recruiter in the specific functional area and/or sector.

Berwick Partners is a leading retained senior management recruitment firm. Through exceptional reach, resources and expertise we find talented leaders for senior management positions across the commercial, public and not-for-profit sectors. With offices across the UK, we are organised into specialist functional and sector practices in order to offer our clients deep expertise and market insight.

Simon Walton is a Partner in the Retail & Consumer Practice at Berwick Partners

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