November 04 ,2014 | by Thiago Kiwi

Demand for professional skills soars in the UK

Demand for professional skills

Professional talent is in hot demand as businesses grow in confidence, APSCo says.

By now it goes without saying that the UK economy, and the employment market, are growing. More and more positive data is emerging showing that business confidence is on the rise and trading conditions are improving. As the latest data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) shows, that is translating into higher demand for professional skills.

The survey finds that the number of permanent vacancies on the books of professional recruitment companies has rocketed by as much as 41 per cent over the course of the year. That is likely to reflect both growth appetite within firms and employees’ own perceptions, as workers perceive an improvement in the jobs market and finally decide to look elsewhere for new opportunities.

Within that impressive figure, all the key sectors are performing strongly. Engineering demonstrated one of the biggest improvements with a 48 per cent leap, while finance and accounting also rose by a very healthy 19 per cent. Demand is also strong in IT, where vacancies rose by a quarter.

One of the other major sectors is suffering from a particularly acute talent shortage. Even though media and marketing vacancies rose by 20 per cent year on year, placements in permanent roles in the sector actually fell by six per cent as firms struggled to find the right talent. As a result, they’re relying on temporary workers, which explains why the number of those roles being advertised grew by 15 per cent year on year.

But those employers will probably have to do more to retain or attract their top media and marketing professionals – a three percent fall in the salaries on offer suggests that candidates are not being incentivised enough. In contrast, salaries increased by three per cent in IT roles. In engineering, the rose by a tenth.

“With an already present skills shortage in the digital arena which is set to exacerbate in the coming years, businesses risk stalling their own growth if they don’t reassess their attraction packages urgently,” says APSCo chief executive Ann Swain.

Salaries will have to rise in these key sectors, and professional talent is increasingly highly sought after a full year of improvement. As firms improve their offerings to fight the skills shortage, it’s a great time to be a professional in the UK.

Thiago Kiwi

Thiago is the LSBF Blog Editor who manages news and features content on the site, and writes about business, finance, technology, education and careers.

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