Skills shortage continues to benefit contractors

Freelancers and umbrella company contractors alike are continuing to benefit from the skills shortage gripping the UK, according to new reports from the REC.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation just came out with their monthly job report, and the data suggests – according to the REC – that the skills shortage has been nothing but a boon for contract workers, especially in several key industries throughout the country. With the availability of self-employed Brits dipping a bit in October as well driving competition for the remaining freelance workers to fit their needs, this made the last month a great time to be working for yourself and not as a traditional employee.

In fact, economic confidence seems to be up as well based on the REC’s figures, as not only was there strong demand for contractors but for permanent employees as well. Usually the two figures are inversely proportional but with both rising it looks like the economy really is shaping up to be something that people can start celebrating instead of to bemoan and whinge about. It’s a pleasant change, if you ask me – one that I hope continues in the months ahead.

Of course we are about to go into the festive season, and we all know how that skews employment figures higher thanks to all the seasonal temporary workers cluttering up not just retail shops but other companies looking to cope with the Christmas boom that we get every year. Even despite that, everyone seems terribly optimistic about the future, even as availability of contract workers and permanent employees alike declines.

Yes this means that, long-term, skills shortage can wreak havoc with the economic futures of the UK as there’s only so many contractors to go around that can fill these crucial vacancies. In fact the chief executive of the REC, Kevin Green, even said as much in a press release accompanying the new figures; he highlighted questions of sustainability as the big one, adding that the UK as a whole has to do more to attract talent from overseas as well as support younger Brits getting ready to graduate so that they’re poised to have the skills and knowledge needed to participate in the work force.

Of course, with the big news of the day being the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, many around the world have begun to call for tighter border control and immigration. A knee-jerk reaction borne out of fear to be sure, but this could plunge a spanner in the works for any efforts to bring skilled workers to British soil to fill needed roles. What’s to be done about it? Well it’s anyone’s guess. For what it’s worth, I can only hope that people see past all that rubbish and realise anyone who doesn’t have an Anglo last name isn’t a prospective terrorist.

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