Growth in IT temp vacancies at 15-year high

KPMG figures reveal the IT sector has had its fastest rise in short-term positions since 1998, but the number of available candidates has declined

The rate of growth in temporary IT job vacancies is at a record 15-year high, according to figures from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG's Report on Jobs.

The KPMG report reveals that August saw the fastest rise in short-term positions since July 1998.

The number of staff in permanent roles also saw an increase, despite its growth easing slightly from the previous month when it stood at a 40-month high. Reinforcing this growth was the fastest increase in the amount of available permanent positions since June 2007.

Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG, said the demand for all technology staff has increased at its sharpest rate for over six years: “While the thirst for permanent employees remains strong, the real success story revolves around the ‘return to work’ prospects offered by the surge in temporary and short-term placements. 

“With these roles seeing their fastest rise for 15 years, it means opportunities to get back into the labour market for people with other commitments are becoming more of a reality than a wish.  If we continue on this trajectory, it could mean that Mark Carney will have to consider raising interest rates sooner than first thought.”

North leads IT job growth

All regions of the UK witnessed a rise in both permanent and temp positions, with the north leading the way. The slowest growth in jobs was registered in London.

The private sector saw a stronger demand for staff than the public sector. The demand for permanent technology workers in the public sector fell for the second consecutive month, while demand for temp staff increased.

Brown added: “It’s a trend that is being replicated across the country and the demand for staff is good news for prospective employees. In the current marketplace, organisations seem increasingly willing to pay more for top talent, with the latest figures showing the rate of starting salaries accelerating to a 5 and half year high. 

“Increasing the pounds in candidates' pockets may sound like good news; it is – but employers must make sure they are paying the right price for the right person and not simply racing to fill a vacancy.”

Permanent salaries for positions also saw a sharp rise in August 2013, reaching its fastest pace since February 2008.

Temporary positions also saw a rise in pay rates, although the pace of inflation was slightly slower than the five and a half year high in July 2013.

Mind the skills gap

Despite the increases in salaries, candidate availability continued to tumble. Candidates available for permanent jobs fell in August 2013, continuing its four-month decline.

The availability of short-term workers also deteriorated at its sharpest rate in six years.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said: “Vacancy growth has hit a six-year high and fluidity is returning to the jobs market, so over the coming months we expect to see a noticeable improvement in official employment figures. The major issue now is the worrying lack of candidates to fill the jobs being advertised. In August, the number of vacancies increased at the sharpest rate in over six years but the availability of staff keeps declining.

“This month’s figures should be celebrated and efforts should be focused on addressing the skills gap rather than picking holes in flexible working.”

League Table

For the IT and computing industry growth in demand for permanent IT workers saw its sharpest rise since December 2000. The sector overall was placed third out of nine in the demand for more staff ‘league table.’

Temporary IT workers also saw a spike in vacancies, the fastest since March 2011. For temporary contracts the IT industry placed fifth in the demand for staff league table.

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