Contractor job opportunities up 13% since pre Covid-19

Contractors...there's positive news! 

Whilst the impact of Covid-19 is still being felt, contractors have seen opportunities rise 13% since pre pandemic levels. However the job market and both permanent and contract hires has taken an overall hit since 2020, especially in London. 

The Office for National Statistics, the number of permanent hires in August and July shrank by almost a quarter (32%). In the same period, contractor opportunities have grown by 13%. 

The 13% leap in contractor roles is between this July and the pre-pandemic July (of 2019), yet contract opportunities are up on 12 months ago too (July 2021), by seven per cent. 

Anne Swain, chief executive of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), says the pandemic is still very much playing a part in job postings: “we are still seeing the impact of the pandemic play out,”. 

Amongst the sectors that have seen growth in contractor opportunities, technology has been seen much activity. Since June 2022, postings in technology, specifically remote opportunities, accounted for up to 11% of all advertised tech jobs, versus 2% pre-pandemic.

June’s update from ASPSCo contains an optimistic prediction regarding tech opportunities for contractors for the remainder of 2022. “We are forecasting that 2022 will see three times more postings [in technology] than we saw in 2020,” APSCo said. Whilst this may be music to the ears of contractors, due to the decrease of full timer opportunities (23%) there is still reasons to be concerned according to APSCo’s policy director, Ms Bowers. 

“This reliance on the non-employed segment of the workforce simply isn’t sustainable at a time when the UK’s attractiveness as a destination to work for international contractors is dwindling post-Brexit.”

“And with the impact of off-payroll [reform] still being felt in the temporary recruitment market, the longer-term availability of these resources and ability to tap into skills in a cost-effective manner is at risk.” Ms Bowers added. 

Whilst contractors are in-demand and this is a viable option for businesses to undertake in order to keep business moving, there are concerns that it is not a long term solution due to cost. From the contractor’s perspective, despite the increase in opportunities, this doesn’t necessarily mean they will all get jobs. 

“Anecdotally, we are hearing that…businesses are conscious that hiring for certain positions can be challenging. Consequently, they advertise hiring for multiple different roles, yet only [intend to complete on] hiring for one of the positions.”

“Companies are faced with no other choice but to turn to contractors to keep business-as-usual operations running, but for many, that’s not a sustainable approach” said  Anne Swain, chief executive of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).