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South East vacancy trends, a summary of a recent Vacancysoft and APSCo report

Vacancysoft (Business Intelligence), in conjunction with The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), recently produced a Regional Trends Report  for the South East. The report analysed data from over 19,000 vacancies advertised in the South East region between March 2014 and February 2016. The results and analysis was broken down by Sector and Company Size, Profession and Geography.

Findings from the report, which were shared with recruitment partners of Vacancysoft, include the following findings:

- Although the South East is predominantly fuelled by London, the past year has seen more vacancy activity in the regional cities – Newbury, Reading, Milton Keynes etc.;
- Over the past 24 months, vacancy growth has tended to occur in January, June/July and October;
- The telecoms and IT sectors are the busiest sectors in the South East, and each accounts for almost twice as many vacancies as any other sector. Together they account for a third of all roles in the region;
- Whilst major telecoms companies are the largest source of vacancies in the South East, ‘IT companies of all sizes had high vacancy volumes and led the way among companies with headcounts below 5,000’;
- ‘The legal sector appears among the top ten with 5% of all vacancies’. This is unusual, the report writers expect this proportion to be lower;
- Outside of Telco/IT, the greatest vacancy growth in the South East took place at Clinical Research Organisations (CRO). ‘This can be narrowed down to hotspots in Reading and Marlow, where 67% of all CRO vacancies were advertised’;
- ‘Sales and marketing are already two of the three biggest professions by vacancy count, and they are still showing consistent growth’.
- Berkshire was the top county in the South East. It had over two times as many vacancies as any other county, which was predominantly due to telecoms vacancies – 38% in Berkshire compared to 17% elsewhere in the South East;
- Vacancy by city data shows the no.1 vacancy location as Newbury, followed by Milton Keynes (since Feb 2016), Reading, Guildford and Maidenhead. Other notable locations include Eastleigh, Hook, Southampton and Brighton;

BCL Legal – opinion

Although the report analyses data across a range of sectors, geographies and professions – legal, sales, marketing, IT etc. – the report does provide a very accurate analysis of BCL Legal’s experience of the legal jobs market in the past two years.   Specifically that legal recruitment has been buoyant, that the IT/Telco sector has been extremely busy in the Thames Valley, particularly in Berkshire, and that cities like Reading and Milton Keynes are seeing solid vacancy growth as companies continue to invest in their operations – although London is still the largest single region for vacancy creation.

From an in-house legal perspective this has translated into a significant number of new roles in software, hardware, IT outsourcing, FinTech, media, betting and gaming, e-commerce and other TMT companies. As evidenced by the report results, these companies and sectors have been hugely buoyant the past two years and IT lawyers are very much in demand.  This has resulted in a high movement of labour, wage growth ahead of the wider in-house legal profession (except perhaps in finance and pharma) and a lack of available and relevant talent – which results in slower recruitment processes, increased interim opportunities and a greater risk of candidates being bought back by their current employer.

In agreement with the report results, we at BCL Legal believe that vacancy growth will continue to increase over the next 12 months. This will be fuelled by companies adding to their existing teams, companies recruiting legal staff for the first time (new entrants from abroad or growing companies), and companies who need to replace staff who have left the business.  Baring any major upset as a result of the Brexit vote, or another wide ranging external factor, we see no reason why the legal sector cannot continue its vacancy rates and above average listing amongst the top ten of all vacancies in the South East.

If you would like to view the complete report, please contact Vacancysoft for your complimentary copy or sign up to the Vacancysoft newsletter to receive it directly. http://vacancysoft.com/vacancysoft-apsco-regional-report-april-2016-south-east/

For more information, please contact Craig Wilson at BCL Legal.

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