Demand begins to outstrip contractor availability in the UK

Looks like that slippery slope is steeper than we thought: more research findings are indicating that the demand for contractors is outstripping availability.

At least, that’s what the Recruitment and Employment Confederation found out recently. The REC’s latest jobs report discovered that availability for freelancers and umbrella company contractors plummeted last month at a rate unseen since March of 1998. On the one hand this is fantastic news for those temporary workers not already up to their armpits in work, as business owners are doing whatever it takes to drag the last few fish from the sea by plumping up their pay packages to gloriously attractive levels.

Of course the party will be ending sooner or later; it’s just a matter of when or how. For what it’s worth I would much rather see demand and availability come back into some sort of equilibrium, but there are a only a few ways that something like this could happen: either there’s a sudden influx of incredibly well trained contract workers that enter the market at the key points where they’re needed most – something that’s about as likely as Margaret Thatcher rising from her grave and endorsing the Lib Dems in the next general election – or demand on the part of businesses declines to a level that fits with the number of contract workers available.

Unfortunately the latter might not be such an excellent situation either, especially since there’s no way demand for workers is going to drop off magically without the economy falling out from under the feet of these firms that are so wildly trying to grow their business. The economic recovery could easily grind to a halt if businesses don’t have the headcounts to push forward and keep competitive on a global level. What we really need – or at least what I think we really need – is a groundswell in properly trained permanent workers, but with the skills shortage wreaking havoc on the number of traditional employees that are actually qualified for the lion’s share of these vacancies it’s going to be a long row to hoe before we get there. I’m hoping that the Government makes good on its promises to come forward with initiatives and programmes that increase the number of apprenticeship and graduate employment opportunities, but I’m not going to hold my breath by any means.

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