Demand for engineering skills is continuing to defy the otherwise weak jobs market, according to research by the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).
The research shows that demand for engineering candidates has risen throughout the eurozone crisis, as demand for highly skilled candidates in other sectors falls. Vacancies for engineers were up 1% year-on-year in January for permanent candidates; vacancies for temps and contractors were up 7% year-on-year in January.
Recently released official data shows that investment in infrastructure rocketed 23.5% year-on-year to a record £3.6 billion in Q4 2011, from £2.9 billion in Q4 2010. Infrastructure investment in 2011 was at its highest level since 1980.
APSCo says that demand for engineering contractors is particularly strong in the energy sector, including oil & gas, renewable energy and power transmission. In other sectors, such as aerospace, skills shortages are still an issue.
The research is from the APSCo Monthly Trends Report, which analyses job vacancies and placements across the UK professional staffing sector. The report compares data from thousands of vacancies and placements supplied by APSCo members who place professional candidates within the UK.
Ann Swain, Chief Executive for APSCo, said that engineering remained the bright spot among the professional jobs market at the moment. "The UK has a long-term shortage of engineering skills. With demand so strong, the Government needs to ensure that the UK's historical underproduction of engineering skills does not impede growth in vitals sectors such as oil & gas and power generation," she added.
Elsewhere in the jobs market, professionals (bankers, lawyers, media executives etc.) were down by 17% year-on-year in January as businesses continued to put hiring plans to one side.