Niche and specialisation are hiring bright spots, says Morgan McKinley

Demand for niche skills and specialists were the bright spots for hiring in 2017 in the UK, according to global professional services recruiter Morgan McKinley.

Releasing its 2018 annual salary guide, the company said that “despite political and economic turmoil”, areas such as regulation and technology saw “a massive increase in demand”. Demand for these skills was particularly strong in accounting & finance, compliance, IT, risk management and tax sectors, said the company. 

Commenting on hiring during 2017, David Leithead, chief operations officer of Morgan McKinley UK, says: “Specialism was the watchword once more, with strong technical skills being highly sought after and rewarded. Despite the pervading concern and uncertainty around the economy, we experienced a year of growth in the UK which was a positive barometer of overall market conditions, and a good sign for 2018.”

Among the key trends identified in the guide were:

  • The highest increase in the number of contractors converted to perm in the past three years, as a result of changes to IR35 off-payment rules in April 2017. As a result, more experienced contractors with transferable skills, particularly in IT, finance, projects and HR, were looking to move into the private sector.
  • A 25% rise in legal job volumes mainly caused by changes in regulation. 
  • The influence of Brexit was mixed. While in some sectors such as IT, diminished confidence led to less hiring while for others, such as strategy aligned banking roles, the effect was positive.

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