Contracting ‘a lifestyle choice for UK professionals’

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The sharp growth in contractor opportunities has been hailed as a success-story for the UK labour market.

Research from the Association of Staffing Companies (APSCo) reveals that temporary and contract vacancies have increased by 9% year-on-year, with accounting & finance and media & marketing performing particularly well.

The survey claims that contracting has now become a lifestyle choice for many professionals eager to benefit from the flexibility freelancing can offer. What’s more, the results mark a sea-change in public perception of contingent working – which for too long has been regarded as the by-product of a weak economy.

Ann Swain, APSCo’s chief executive said: “Government initiatives to encourage an entrepreneurial approach to employment have had a significant impact on attitudes towards contracting, with many professionals now taking a more flexible outlook to work.

“A rise in contractor vacancy numbers no longer represents weak permanent employment figures. Working on a flexible basis is a lifestyle choice that many professionals choose.”

Meanwhile, the study also found that the UK’s engineering sector can toast a double success – as job opportunities and rates continue to rise. APSCo’s data shows the industry recorded a 20% jump in advertised vacancies over the past 12 months, an increased matched only by IT businesses.

Salaries in engineering have enjoyed steady year-on-year growth, rising by 6.3%. Finance professionals benefited from a jump of 3.1% - well above the national average of 1.9%.

Although the above statistics relate to permanent employment, engineering contractors could also benefit. This is because a shortage of available talent has seen firms turn to freelancers to secure the expertise they need.

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