The latest JobsOutlook survey from the REC reveals that the vast majority of employers (79%) are turning to Umbrella Company employees and others from the UK’s professional contracting community to gain short-term access to strategic skills.
In an environment where suitably qualified permanent candidates are in scant supply, more employers than ever before are turning to agency talent to cope with the skills shortage, which is a trend that seems certain to continue.
Business stability also appears to be returning. The number of employers planning to cut workforce costs through headcount freezes, redundancies, reduced pay or hours has halved over the last 12 months, falling from 33% in August 2013 to 17% in August this year.
43% of employers intend to increase their temporary/contracting headcounts over the next three months, while 40% intend to do so over the coming year. The corresponding figures for permanent staff are 89% and 78%, strongly suggesting that economic recovery has steadied into a very healthy state.
REC chief executive Kevin Green said: “It’s clear that skills shortages are affecting the way in which employers use agency workers, and increasing numbers are now relying on temporary staff to provide short-term access to strategic skills. This is a trend that is likely to continue as it becomes increasingly difficult to source the skilled permanent staff that businesses need to grow.”
Mr Green also noted that recruiters were adapting successfully to the challenge of skills shortages, successfully sourcing contractor and permanent staff to high employer approval ratings: nine out of ten employers were satisfied with the quality of staff sourced by recruiters.