Long before the EU referendum, many analysts had stated that leaving the EU would have an adverse effect on the economy. While some surveys after the referendum have found that Brexit uncertainty has not had an effect on contractor and permanent hiring, there are others that show otherwise.
A new survey by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has found that for October, professional recruitment agencies have registered zero growth compared to last year when it comes to permanent recruitment.
APSCo stated that this data is similar to the findings of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which stated last month that the employment rate from July to September 2016 has not shown any change and still rests at 74.5 per cent. In fact, as per the latest employment figures from the ONS, the employment rate has significantly slowed down, falling to 49,000 in September 2016 from 106,000 in August 2016. This figure is much lower than the predicted 91,000.
The data from APSCo shows that the hiring of permanent employees in the fields of engineering and IT has reduced by 6 per cent, but in marketing and financial services, there has been an increase in hiring by 14 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.
This may not be good news for IT contractors, but there is a silver lining. With the demand rising in the financial sector, there will be a need for IT professionals who can help in the transition when Britain leaves the EU. In fact, data from APSCo reveals that IT contractors that specialise in the finance sector have more opportunities. Opportunities for contractors in the sector have increased by 1 per cent in October 2016.
APSCo CEO Ann Swain acknowledged that the uncertainties surrounding Brexit are now taking a toll on recruitment, both permanent and contract. She said that many companies have put their investment plans on hold after the referendum, and the decline in confidence has adversely affected hiring.