No election hangover as contractors buck the hiring trend

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Fears over a slowdown in contractor hiring due to general election uncertainty failed to materialise as temporary agency billings continued their upward trajectory in May.

The latest Report on Jobs from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG reveals that the rate of growth in short-term appointments has quickened month-on-month. This is compared to a marked slowdown in the permanent market.

Indeed, this stellar performance means that agency billings from contractor and temp placements have now increased for more than two years in succession – perhaps providing further evidence that the UK jobs market is fast becoming a contractor’s paradise.

REC’s survey also found that contractor availability dropped sharply in May, recording the fastest descent in seven months. This could prove good news for those currently seeking assignments, as they should be able to pick and choose the opportunity that best fits their skills sets.

Assignment rates are also on the increase, albeit at the slowest pace for five months.

Bernard Brown, partner at KPMG, said: “The UK job market saw a slight slowdown in May, as those on boards took time to digest the election result and work out the ramifications for their business. This pause did not dampen temporary staff placements, and temp billings rose for a twenty-fifth consecutive month.”

Meanwhile, the report found that the Midlands and London proved to be rich hunting grounds for contractors – with these areas posting the joint sharpest growth in temporary appointments.

Have your say

Are you a recruiter? Have you noticed an increase in temporary billings? Do you think this trend is set to continue? Join in the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below.