Overall hiring levels across the UK have remained relatively stable throughout quarter two of 2013 when compared to the first three months of the year and the number of vacancies dipped by just over 1% across the board - with some areas reporting a significant increase.
Vacancies within the public sector have dipped by 24% since quarter one and levels now sit 49% lower than quarter two 2012. This can be attributed to the spike in recruitment activity across the NHS prior to April 2013 as primary care trusts prepared for the transition to clinical commissioning groups and commissioning support units.
But this trend is not reflected within HR. The new clinical commissioning groups are now largely in place, and HR departments are ramping up and investing in senior level talent. As a result, there has been particular demand for recruitment specialists and professionals with experience in change management.
Public sector IT and finance are showing the strongest signs of growth and professionals with experience in building teams in these areas are particularly sought after. This surge in activity is creating a shortage of immediately available HR professionals with relevant experience.
In London in particular, there is a shortage of suitably skilled senior HR interims with the right experience. The recent changes within the NHS mean that the new groups resemble commercial businesses more than ever before. As a result, there is demand for individuals with not only a public sector background, but also M&A experience.
Despite the slight shortfall of director level candidates, there are plenty of less senior HR professionals relocating to the capital to take advantage of the increase in opportunities.It’s predicted that this senior-level activity will continue throughout the year, with an increase in more junior-level vacancies during late 2013 and early 2014.
Throughout the UK, vacancies within commerce and industry have increased by 69% since quarter one with levels now sitting 18% higher than the same period last year. This rapid rise can largely be attributed to increasing activity across the regions as confidence returns to the markets outside London. Unexpectedly, this flurry of activity is having a knock-on effect on demand for interim HR professionals who are able to effectively manage training and recruitment projects to support growth and expansion.
Official statistics show that the economy grew by 0.6% in the second quarter of the year and last month the CBI announced a more optimistic growth forecast of 1.2% for 2013 – above its May prediction of 1%. The employers’ group attributed this to a better-than-expected second quarter and a broad-based rise in confidence across services, construction and manufacturing sectors.
The sustainability and success of any organisation depends on its people. And the projected growth that economists have predicted will no doubt continue to create demand for experienced HR professionals - of every level - who can improve the structure and efficiency of businesses across the UK.