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Interim update - employment levels are rising

Posted on from Venn Group

The latest edition of the Venn Index, a quarterly report on vacancy levels and average salaries across the UK, has found that employment levels have risen by 5.2% during the year ending December 2012 across the board with some areas performing significantly better.

Private sector

HR functions are integral to this growth, and we've noted an increase in activity around specific areas throughout the last quarter.  

Within commerce and industry, organisations are investing in interim HR professionals who are able to implement training and development projects to up-skill their existing talent. As confidence returns to the market, companies are looking to improve output without increasing permanent headcount costs. And as the economy becomes more stable, we expect to see more interims leading recruitment projects as well as staff development programmes.  

Public sector

Once again, there has been unprecedented demand within the NHS for experienced HR directors who are able to expertly manage the transition from Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). The switchover is now reaching deadline for completion, which goes some way in explaining the fact that interim vacancies throughout the public sector are up 32% since quarter four of 2011.

Within the world’s third largest employer, this reshuffle requires the skill of HR professionals who have solid experience in change management within the public sector. Those with a detailed knowledge of employment contracts are in particular demand as trusts consolidate their talent. Skilled professionals who are able to seamlessly instigate and manage the movement of personnel between offices, departments and sites are also particularly sought after.   

HR IT

Throughout the private and public sectors there has been an increase in demand for HR officers, advisors and assistants with an in-depth working knowledge of Electronic Staff Records (ESR) software. Organisations that wish to improve their efficiency are increasingly turning to digital means to organise, prioritise and monitor work schedules. As a result, senior HR professionals who are able to utilise software to implement new initiatives are being snapped up. The extra workload created by recent real-time PAYE legislation and the on-going pension reforms is also spurring a need for interim HR professionals to help manage these changes on a project basis.

Looking forward

We predict that the first three months of 2013 will continue to see high levels of HR interim employment for the NHS switchover. Following completion at the end of quarter one 2013, we expect to see continued activity as the new groups draft in contract HR professionals to tie up loose ends until the new structure beds down.  

The economy is showing positive signs of recovery and contract and interim employment levels in the UK remain strong. Research from the Institute of Directors suggests that there is a growing sense of economic optimism for the year ahead among employers and long-term confidence has also increased. Official figures also continue to point towards an acceleration of job creation.

A company’s HR function is a cornerstone of its sustainability and growth, and as we reported last quarter, experienced HR interims are required to maximise existing talent while overseeing targeted growth through employment. As such, we expect the interim HR market to remain buoyant throughout the first half 2013 as organisations in both the private and public sectors strive to become more efficient to aid recovery.

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