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Contractor Availability Reached Seven-Month Low In May

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The latest report by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG shows that contractor availability fell to a seven-month low in May this year, Contractor Calculator reports.

According to the Report on Jobs for May 2015, this development is resulting in a contract-rich environment across each of the core contracting disciplines, meaning that contractor agency rates and billings increased during the General Election month.

The findings also flag up that London and the Midlands were the best source of contracts during this period. ContractCalculator CEO Dave Chaplin notes that with such visible demand and growth in these “hubs of engineering and financial excellence,” contractors with the required skills “have it all to gain from focusing on winning work in these locations.”

The REC’s chief executive Kevin Green, however, expressed his concern that the use of contingent workers was not a long-term solution to the ever-widening skills shortage in the industry – which he feels is leading towards a “jobs crisis.”

“It’s imperative that the new government gets to grips with skills shortages,” he urged. “Recruiters are doing a great job at getting more and more people into work, but four in ten of those recruiters say that the availability of candidates is getting worse each month.”

Also commenting on the report was Bernard Brown, a partner at KPMG. He noted that the job market slowdown in May was a natural effect of the election result, as leaders and decision-makers needed time to process the election result and understand how it would affect their business.

“This pause did not dampen temporary staff placements,” he added, “and temp billings rose for a twenty-fifth consecutive month.”

Experts are linking the rise in contractor placements with increasing workloads at client organisations. With business continuing to grow, but not enough skilled workers to fulfill the increased order volumes, contractors are stepping in to fill the gap.