Recent research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has highlighted that professional interim vacancies in England and Wales have stagnated, with Q1 2022 experiencing a 0.2% quarter-on-quarter fall in London and the rest of the country seeing a decrease of nearly 9%.
Jack Birch, Senior Manager – Interim Recruitment at Procurement Heads, said, “Our experience in 2022 at Procurement Heads has been that demand for high calibre interim managers within the procurement and supply chain disciplines has been growing, rather than easing off, and in fact in Q2 of 2022 – and with a couple of weeks still to go – we’ve seen a 39% increase in interim jobs registered versus Q1, which had already seen us register 42% more interim roles than in Q4 of 2021.
“At present, it certainly doesn’t feel like demand has peaked and is falling, and we anticipate continued high demand across the coming months, with many businesses seemingly eager to snap up top interim talent.”
APSCO’s research data provided by Vacancysoft revealed that interim vacancies were at an all-time high in 2021, with hiring levels reaching their peak of 2,400 new vacancies per month in March 2021. Overall, 2021 closed with an interim vacancy growth of 115% year on year. London reported the biggest increase across the cities, rising 70% year-on-year.
Across the sectors, banking currently holds the majority share of interim vacancies, recording 775 new jobs in Q1 of this year, surpassing retail and consumer goods as well as the not-for-profit and public sectors. An impressive figure considering this is already 26.4% of the 2021 total of banking vacancies. Meanwhile, interim recruitment in insurance is the fastest to grow, with vacancies up over a third (36.2%) in relation to 2021’s levels, while the energy sector saw the slowest growth recording just 8.7% of last year’s total.
Across companies hiring for interims this year, Santander is leading the table, recording 82 new jobs so far, accounting for 57.3% of the firm’s 2021 recruitment levels, which could be part of its ongoing European recovery plan. The University of Cambridge follows in second place with 62 new interim vacancies (40% of last year’s total), followed by AXA, last year’s top interim employer, which published 60 vacancies.
Ann Swain, CEO of APSCo, said, “Interim professionals have become an important part of an organisation’s long-term talent strategy, especially post-pandemic, which is only reinforced by last year’s vacancies reaching all-time highs. And while we are beginning to see the country’s reliance on interim workers ease slightly, this flexible, highly skilled segment of the workforce will continue to play a vital role at a time of high skills shortages.
“With the latest ONS data revealing that there are now more vacancies than unemployed people, we expect demand for interim professionals to increase again throughout the year.”
Jack added, “We’re also seeing a significant proportion of interims – whether working in roles through ourselves or otherwise – who are being asked to extend their contracts, often well beyond their original terms.
“Some of the key reasons for the ongoing demand seem to be as part of strategic reviews or major restructures, large scale projects and of course as ongoing experienced covers where top-quality permanent resources have been that much harder to find and attract given ‘The Great Resignation’ and general market conditions over the last year or so.
“The challenging world landscape, with the aftermath of the pandemic, events in Ukraine and the effects of Brexit, have also really highlighted the value of experts within the procurement and supply chain world, as naturally most businesses have been impacted to varying degrees and have had to re-assess their typical routes and approaches for sourcing goods and services, in addition to many advocating a growing theme of sustainability and ethical thinking in their procurement and supply functions.
“Perhaps it’s these factors which are contributing to the interim market in procurement and supply chain seeming to buck the trends suggested in this APSCo research.
“We are however certainly seeing alignment with the themes of demand within banking and insurance – our financial and professional services sector has seen particularly significant growth as regards interim hires.
“The other area showing an ongoing high demand is in the public sector, and between financial and professional services sector and public sector clients, which have accounted for 67% of our new interim placements in 2022 so far.”
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