By Daniel Hunter

A new report suggests that temporary vacancies across London dipped by 15% between quarter four 2012 and quarter one 2013, while employment levels across the regions continue to climb.

In the North West, for example, temporary recruitment levels are up 53% and in the North East, vacancies have increased by 22%. These figures can largely be attributed to an increase in engineering and manufacturing in the North, spurred by a buoyant car industry and the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan.

Across the UK as a whole, employment levels remain stable. Vacancies dipped by just 0.4% between quarter four 2012 and quarter one 2013 as the UK’s GDP expanded by 0.3%.

This is according to the UK’s only company dedicated to the provision of professional contract and interim staff to organisations in both the private and public sectors, Venn Group The company has just launched the fifth edition of a quarterly report - the Venn Index — offering an overview of vacancy levels, average salaries and in demand skills across the UK.

Employment levels within commerce and industry across the UK have levelled out following a sharp increase last quarter. Vacancies dipped just 0.8% between the latter months of 2012 and early 2013, which signifies a degree of stability in the market.

In London, vacancies in this area are 59% lower than quarter one 2012, but this can be explained by an unprecedented boom in early 2012 as companies ramped up in preparation for the Olympics. Since quarter four 2012, temporary employment levels have risen by 4.6% in the capital, which signifies a return to normality after the Games.

Employment levels within financial services have dipped once again. Vacancies within this area declined by 48% between quarter four 2012 and quarter one 2013, and levels now sit 66% below those recorded in the early months of last year. This is in-keeping with the wider financial services market. For example, earlier this month RBS announced another 1,400 job cuts in its latest round of redundancies.

Across the UK, temporary vacancies within the public sector increased by 1.5% between quarter four 2012 and quarter one 2013. The NHS’s transition from Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) was scheduled for completion in April 2013, but each region is managing the switchover at a different pace. In London, where Clinical Commissioning Groups are largely in place, there has been a 12% dip in public sector vacancies over the last three months.

Within London’s hospitals there has been an increase in demand for financial accountants to help manage year end accounts and transitional finance systems. Financial roles within charities are also on the up, there is particular demand for experienced professionals to help manage increasing workloads within accountants departments.

“As predicted in the last edition of the Venn Index, the economy continues to show signs of stability and professional contract and interim employment levels in the UK remain strong," Robert Bowyer, Director of Venn Group said.

"The UK avoided a triple dip recession and business lobby group, the CBI, expects the economy to grow by 1% this year and 2% in 2014. As employers adjust to this more stable economic situation, we believe they will increasingly turn to contract and interim staff as a valuable commodity. We predict that the manufacturing sector will continue to boost employment in the coming months.

"Growth prospects amongst English manufacturing SMEs is at a twelve month high according to the latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer, which reveals nearly two thirds (64%) of companies questioned are expecting to increase sales over the next six months. Furthermore, the Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) has pledged a £213 million investment designed to create over 11,000 new jobs and safeguard another 5,000 in the sector.”

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