Following the Brexit referendum, we talked about how we felt the result would lead to a boost in demand for freelancers, consultants, contractors and temporary workers, as British firms work to adapt to the changing landscape the vote to leave the EU has spurred.  A recent survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has since produced insights to support just this, evidencing a drop in permanent placements but a rise nationwide in temporary candidates taking on contracts.

This should come as no surprise – the use of contractors and consultants has been on the rise as the modern way of working in Britain for years, and with millions of self-employed people in the UK, who better to help stabilise the British economy and grow our industries.

The referendum result, as we know, has bred uncertainty and will continue to have a short-term impact while a plan is developed, however whereas many firms are holding off on recruiting permanent employees, this survey shows they are continuing to invest in the expertise and support they need by calling on the nation’s freelance population.

Demand for contractors remains high

The REC research, the Report on Jobs, is produced monthly and collects data from 400 UK recruitment and employment firms. It reveals the number of people in the UK securing a permanent job has fallen for two months in a row, with many citing uncertainties around Brexit as the key issue.

Chief executive of the REC, Kevin Green, described the drop in permanent placements as a “dramatic freefall” but he does add it’s important not to jump to conclusions from one month’s data.

He says in the report, “The truth is we don’t know what long term consequences the referendum result will have on UK jobs. With the political situation becoming more stable and the Bank of England making sensible decisions, we may well see confidence return to the jobs market more quickly than anticipated.”

The survey found 38 per cent of those polled had placed fewer people in permanent positions in July, an increase from 32% in June. However, there was a rise in temporary placements in every region of the UK.

Despite the drop, the research shows that demand for employees and contractors remains high in many sectors and starting salaries for both permanent and temporary staff increased in July. Nursing and medical care were the most in-demand categories for permanent staff during July and, unsurprisingly considering the recent drop in the sector, construction workers saw a decline in demand for their services.

Join our survey and help shape the future

There are more than 4.6m self-employed people in the UK with a lot to offer our businesses and the wider economy.

That’s why we’ve joined forces with Global Recruiter to launch a survey which digs deeper into the change in working behaviours and communicates directly with recruitment agencies to understand future trends and challenges.

We aim to create a definitive overview of the recruitment sector and map the demand for temporary workers across the UK. Please take two minutes to take part in the survey and help understand what opportunities we need to focus on in the years to come.

We also intend to launch a survey that canvasses the opinions of contractors and freelancers in the coming months to further understand the scale and significance of this sector – watch this space!

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