Contractor pay rates rise to seven-year high

A shortage of skills and a slump in the permanent recruitment sector has contributed to a steady rise in contractor billings and pay rates are set at a seven-year high.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) ‘Report on Jobs’ highlighted that agencies’ contract staff billings rose at an accelerated pace for the seventeenth month in a row. This contrasts with a ten-month low in the rate of growth for permanent placements.

Kevin Green, REC chief executive, said: “Employers are bringing in temps and contractors with the skills they need quickly and are willing to pay to do so.”

Temporary workers within the nursing and medical sectors remain the highest in demand, though those with engineering experience follow closely behind.

Bernard Brown, Partner and Head of Business Services at KPMG, attributes this growth to a shift in attitudes. He said: “With permanent placements slowing to a ten month low, perhaps the uncertainty caused by political crises across the globe are beginning to affect decision-makers’ confidence.

“The incentive for taking on temporary roles is strengthening as pay packets improve, and if the cost of living continues to rise as expected, we may yet see candidates forced to choose between securing financial rewards in short bursts or long-term security.”

The Midlands currently boasts the greatest growth of temporary billings, whereas the south of England has facilitated the weakest expansion.