New research into the health of the jobs market has found that permanent placements are up as employers shun short-term hiring.
The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) reports that the number of candidates securing permanent roles in January 2018 increased by 10% year-on-year.
Its findings tally with the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published in February which showed that UK employment levels now sit at 75.3%, higher than a year earlier and the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971.
APSCo's survey data, which focuses on professional recruitment, reveals that vacancies for permanent staff also remain strong, increasing by 0.3% in the past year. However, contract vacancies slipped by 9% and the number of contractors out on assignment is down 16%. This is due in large part to a significant 38% year-on-year fall in IT professionals working on a contract basis during this time.
While overall demand for talent remains resilient, APSCo reports that vacancies for finance professionals to work on a permanent basis have been particularly strong, jumping by 16% year-on-year.
Demand for contractors has decreased across many sectors. Vacancies within engineering, for example, slipped by 5%, while demand within IT and marketing fell by 8% and 21% respectively. Finance was the only sector where vacancies for non-permanent roles increased, with demand for contractors up by 2%.
The figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors dipped by 1.2% year-on-year. However, there are fluctuations between sectors, with financial services and engineering, for example, recording uplifts of 1.8% and 2.4% respectively.
John Nurthen, APSCo's staffing industry analysts' executive director of global research, said: "There continues to be a clear split in demand for skilled professionals as staffing firms are finding it easy to place candidates into permanent roles but much more difficult to fill temporary and contract positions. This schism in demand is most obvious in the social work and engineering sectors. With the latest unemployment rate down in February to 4.4% from 4.8% a year earlier, this tight labour market is likely to continue for the foreseeable future."