Contractor vacancies remain flat in UK

With the EU referendum hanging in the balance, contractor vacancies have arranged flat in the UK with just a 1 per cent increase year on year.

At least that’s what the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) says, according to its newest survey data. However, while the research findings say that overall growth has been stagnant, there are some sectors where there’s been loads of demand, especially in places like the world of financial services; demand shot up by around 30 per cent over the last 12 months, APSCo reports.

Industry insiders blame this pretty squarely on the shoulders of the EU referendum. The vote, scheduled for this coming June, has more or less resulted in manufacturing and service sectors in the UK grinding to a halt. Consumer confidence is down to its lowest levels in over 12 months, the number of new homes being built is likewise declining, and while freelancers and umbrella company contractors are typically used to counterbalance any declines in demand for permanent workers, APSCo chief executive Ann Swain said that with such a small bump in contractor vacancies over the last year it’s obvious that the entirety of hiring activity in the UK is in a holding pattern – almost certainly because of the coming referendum.

So what’s going to happen if the UK decides to flee the EU? Well, APSCo thinks it could result in around 100,000 jobs in the financial services sector as full-time positions become thin on the ground. Contractors will be there to fill any vacancies caused by skill gaps, just as they always been and continue to do. Honestly though, I’m a bit skeptical on the prospects of Britain actually deciding to go its own way and leave the eurozone. On the one hand, we have always held ourselves apart from the continent, and not just geographically but socially and culturally; at the same time, we live in a global economy and we should be forging additional and closer connections with the rest of Europe and the world as well. I mean, just because we’re an island kingdom doesn’t mean we aren’t inextricably tied to European and world history, right?

I suppose we’ll see in a few months. Until then, hold on to your knickers while we all ride this tidal wave to the very end!

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