Interim staff crucial in the UK labour market after the latest election shock? We think so!

I think it would be fair to say the last fortnight in UK politics has been unpredictable. On election night, most commentators were shocked and excited in equal measure as the constituencies declared their results, all trying to decide what these results meant in terms of the overall political map, Government, economy and Brexit. A week later and after time to reflect, the question is …. what will this result mean for the UK labour market?

On the 6th June just before the election, the Recruitment and Employment Federation (REC) Report on Jobs, was published and it provides a good guide to the UK labour market pre-election. Key points included:-

• growth in both permanent placements and temp billings
• demand for staff reaching a 21-month peak, and
• the sharpest drop in permanent candidate numbers since August 2015

The report highlighted a sharp and accelerated increase in permanent staff placements across the UK – the rate of expansion was the fastest for 25 months. Temp billings are also rising at a steeper pace and recorded the strongest rate of growth since March 2015. The availability of permanent and temporary candidates declined at sharp rates in April, with permanent candidates being the most obviously affected. Notably, both permanent and temporary saw the steepest drops in candidate availability for 16 months. So in short the increase in placements has led to a decrease in candidate availability.

When you’ve been in recruitment for as long as I have, you have seen the two typical types of job market… either job short or candidate short. When the stars align, you may have that perfect market place where you have the jobs and the candidates to fill them, but these conditions never last too long. More often you are working hard on managing client or candidate expectations dependent on which area has a shortage.

But now the election has come and gone, how will it impact upon the job market? Here some thoughts:-

Samantha Hurley, Director of Operations at APSCo has an opinion:

“The impact of this result on both the permanent and flexible labour markets has the potential to be significant. Ever since the phrase ‘gig economy’ was coined, media attention has consistently focused on lower skilled and lower paid workers and we are absolutely determined to ensure that the new Government recognises that professional independent flexible talent is not only a completely distinctive group within the gig economy, but that it also has a critical role to play in the future success of the UK plc.”

As does Julia Kermode, Chief Executive of FCSA.

“During uncertain times we know that freelancers and contractors are key to the economy and they need to be allowed to work and thrive without the shackles of red tape and burdensome legislation that holds them back. There are some 4.8 million self-employed freelancers, contractors, interims and consultants choosing to work self-employed in the UK today. These workers offer experience, expertise and knowledge and businesses can glean the benefits without committing themselves to all the costs (and risks) that come with hiring a full-time employee, such as NI contributions, holiday pay, sickness pay, maternity/paternity rights. What’s more, flexible workers can hit the ground running to be available to businesses on an ‘as needs basis’ and MPs should recognise that such workers are key to keeping the economy steady as we face a turbulent time ahead”.

Similar opinions seem to be widespread and there is clearly the view that freelancers, interims and consultants will pay a crucial role in the UK jobs market in the forthcoming months and longer.

The UK labour market has proven remarkably resilient over the last 12 months in the aftermath of Brexit, the US election and now UK election. The next 12 months will undoubtedly provide further twists as the UK Government begin to negotiate a hard/soft Brexit and all the various decisions and policies beyond that which will impact upon the labour market. It seems sensible as Julia Kermode states that during uncertain times freelancing and interim roles are key to the economy and don’t let us forget the rising number of workers working within the “gig economy” (see my previous blog…

Chadwick Nott work with a wide ranging selection of law firms and organisations who regularly recruit contractors to assist them on projects, cover for holiday/sickness periods and assist with spikes in workloads, when the team budget or economy doesn’t allow for an increase in the perm headcount due to uncertain times.

Please do take a look at our website www.chadwicknott.co.uk for a wide range of legal roles from permanent in-house, private practice, paralegal to the contractor/interim or consultancy positions.

If you’d like to discuss any of the roles or have a general confidential chat about your career options, please do call and speak to one of our dedicated consultants.
Chris Goodman is an Interim consultant based in our London office on 0203 096 4546, email chrisgoodman@chadwicknott.co.uk.

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