Niche skills key to securing contracting assignments

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A drop in the number of available candidates has made it even more important that contractors train in niche areas if they want to get ahead.

The latest Report on Jobs study by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) revealed that a shortage of skilled freelancers has led to the slowest growth in staffing agency billings for six months.

This means that contractors with expertise in hard-to-source disciplines could enjoy a wealth of opportunities – along with a healthy pay packet.

REC’s study found that contractors working in the engineering, accounting & financial and IT & computing sectors were among the most sought-after – finishing fourth, fifth and sixth in the demand league table.

The report also revealed that the availability of permanent staff dropped at its sharpest rate in five months. This could further push up demand for contractors, as businesses seek a short-term solution to their recruitment dilemma.

Kevin Green, REC’s chief executive, said: “We’ve seen higher numbers of vacancies being posted by businesses as they seek to capitalise on increased demand.

"This is good for jobseekers however we question how sustainable this jobs boom is as skill and talent shortages become rife.

“The availability of staff has been falling for two years, with 40% of recruiters saying that the situation is getting worse month on month.”

In terms of contractor availability, the Midlands remained the strongest-performing region for agency billings last month, with the North recording the slowest expansion.

Have your say

Are you a contractor working in the above areas? Have you experienced an increase in demand for your services? Do you think it is important for freelancers to specialise in niche areas? Join in the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

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