By Lynne Gowers on 8th July 2015

Skills shortage drives demand for freelancers in June 2015

Work opportunities for freelancers and contractors became more plentiful in June 2015 as companies continued to turn to temporary staff as a means of addressing their ongoing skills shortages.

The latest Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG Report on Jobs has shown that although the rate of growth in temporary and contract staff billings moderated to an eight-month low in June, it remained marked overall, reflecting the strong demand that exists for the skills freelancers can offer.

A key driver of this trend is declining candidate availability, with the number of permanent and temporary staff to fill key vacancies gradually declining month on month, even though the situation eased slightly compared to May.

Temp billings growth was strongest in the Midlands during the latest survey period, with London posting the weakest expansion.

As such, the rates of pay available to freelancers who can step into the breach are becoming increasingly attractive. Although temp pay growth during June 2015 wasn’t as strong as it has been during the preceding 14 months, it remained marked overall.

Bernard Brown, partner at KPMG, said: “This growing skills shortage is cross-sector and cross-discipline: recruiters are struggling to fill vacancies for everything from software engineers to sales. The lack of qualified candidates is also driving up salaries, with the right individual able to command a significant premium from businesses anxious to secure their skills and experience.”

This comes after a recent survey from the REC indicated that 97 per cent of firms plan to increase or maintain their current number of agency workers in the next four to 12 months.

Moreover, 65 per cent of the companies said temps are now earning more than they would if they were employed on a permanent basis, thus reflecting their increased strategic importance.

Written by Lynne Gowers
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