PAYE umbrella pros specialising in IT contracting and engineering enjoyed steady demand for their skills in July, according to the latest Monster Employment Index – but contractors working in other areas of the private sector did not fare so well.
The Index reveals dispiriting year-on-year declines in online demand in consulting (down 6%) and management and construction (both down 12%). The dubious prize for the worst performing sector, however, goes to the banking and finance sector, which saw a 13% nosedive in comparison with last July.
Julian Acquari, the MD of Monster UK and Ireland, identified the sharp contraction of the financial sector in the face of ongoing eurozone uncertainties as the chief cause of the overall 3% year-on-year decline in online worker demand – the first general negative growth recorded in more than 30 months.
He drew attention to pockets of resilience seen in some sectors, although he also sounded a note of caution, adding: “However, these pockets of growth are currently counterbalanced by declines in the banking, marketing and construction industries.”
There was a strong growth in demand for temporary staff, including contractors working through umbrella companies, in the public sector and defence. In the short term at least, umbrella contractors may find growing opportunities in the public sector, as hirers seeks to deliver projects and services in the face of shrinking reserves of permanent staff. They should also be aware, however, that tough new ‘off-payroll’ rules will come into force in the public sector from September, which may yet provoke an exodus of limited company contractors.