Professional recruitment firms now have 20% more vacancies on their books than this time last year according to new survey data from APSCo.  Its latest research, independently validated by Staffing Industry Analysts, comes as the Treasury’s growth forecast for the UK economy continues to climb month-on-month, with forecasted GDP growth now standing at 3.1% for 2014, up from 1.8% at the beginning of the year.

Professional sectors all experiencing impressive growth

Beneath this headline figure, the latest data from APSCo reveals that growth in the professional staffing market continues to spread with five of the trade association’s core sector groups registering strong growth.  Permanent vacancies across the engineering, IT, accounting & finance , social work and media & marketing arenas are all up year-on-year, with the former three demonstrating the most impressive jobs growth ( 35%, 22% and 18% respectively).

While APSCo’s data has, for some time, pointed towards continued expansion across the engineering and finance & accounting arenas, this month is the first time that the IT sector has demonstrated such impressive growth.   This is in keeping with widespread reports that the UKs tech sector is enjoying its strongest spurt of activity since the onset of the financial crisis.  The latest KPMG/Markit Tech Monitor survey reveals that tech companies are not only expecting an upturn in year-ahead expectations for business activity, but they are also planning to ‘loosen the purse strings’ and hire more staff.

Salaries mirror impressive sector growth  

APSCo’s data also shows that median salaries across all professional sectors have increased slightly year-on-year (1.3%), with the most impressive growth seen in the IT, engineering and finance arenas  (1.4%, 11.1% and 5.5% respectively).   The huge acceleration within certain sectors – engineering, for example – is indicative of an ongoing skills shortage and pressure on employers to pay above the norm to entice the very best talent to their organisation.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo comments: “The latest GDP predictions, coupled with the recent reports that Britain’s recovery has pushed the economy past its pre-crisis peak, sets the stage for a fruitful few months for professional jobseekers and recruitment firms alike. This month is the first time that APSCo’s sector groups have all posted fantastic growth figures – the only hurdle in site would be a candidate shortage which could scupper this should employers not take note and strongly evaluate not only their attraction strategies, but also their Employee Value Proposition offering.”

Adam Pode, Director of International Research for Staffing Industry Analysts, which compiles the report for APSCo, comments: “With UK output finally back above its pre-crisis levels, confidence has definitely returned to the market place. This means employers are more likely to increase their permanent work force, if and it is a big if, they can find staff with the right skills.”