Contractors in deep demand in February, REC says

Umbrella company contractors and freelance workers were in deep demand last month according to new figures from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

When it came to February, the number of businesses looking for skilled contract workers and freelancers went through the roof. In fact, the REC said that temporary billings jumped up at a rate unseen since last September!

The trade industry body’s Report on Jobs, which is a survey it conducts monthly with the help of KPMG, saw massive upticks in demand for temporary workers. The REC’s Report uses an index that represents growth as a number from 1 to 100, with 51 and over indicating growth; February’s index figure was 63, which is quite high all things considered.

While the growth for freelancer and contractor demand was high, it wasn’t the only market that enjoyed big gains. In fact, the permanent worker market also underwent a huge uptick as well, with that market segment increasing at rates unseen since October of 2014. In fact, the permanent worker index was just a few points behind temporary workers at 61.5, also indicating quite healthy demand.

Making things even better is that pay packets were on the increase as well. In other words, businesses are willing to pay both temporary and permanent workers a premium to come on board. This makes it more or less a perfect storm when it comes to looking for employment or picking up more freelancing clients – and I can only hope this momentum continues into this month as well!

So what’s driving all this sudden and welcome demand for both permanent and temporary workers? Well most industry experts have pointed the finger squarely at the skills shortage, and I’m inclined to agree. In the short term this is great for anyone who can actually land one of these nice, new positions; in the long run of course there are worries that there simply won’t be enough contractors and freelancers to go around. The reason there’s so much demand for interim workers is that there’s not enough permanent candidates to satisfy demand; since there’s only a finite number of skilled and experienced contractors out there, there’s a very real risk that the market may collapse under its own weight once all the best and the brightest are already working as hard as they can.

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