Graduates leaving university this year have plenty to celebrate as professional hiring has increased by 9% on a yearly basis, according to new research.

The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) revealed that demand for financial and accounting roles led the way, with permanent positions up by 15%.

Vacancies and salaries increase

Growth was noted across professional staffing markets, with the IT (7%), media and marketing (2%) and engineering (1%) sectors also thriving.

The research suggested the increase in financial and accounting roles is due to continued growth in the UK SME business sector.

The figures also revealed that average salaries across the UK in all professional sectors are continuing to steadily climb, rising by an average of 7.5% year-on-year. Engineering and finance roles saw particularly large increases, with salaries up by 6.1% and 7.5% respectively.

These increases actually exceed the average salary rises previously reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which found that earnings – including bonuses – increased at an annual rate of 2.3% in the three months to June.

Teetering on record levels of employment

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo, said that the official job figures are suggestive of a recovery within the labour market, as the employment rate is steering close to the record high of 73.5%.

She added that the economy continues to show clear signs of strengthening, making it likely that productivity levels will also begin to recover.

Meanwhile, both temporary and contract vacancies remain stable across the professional market, with a 0.7% increase in jobs available year-on-year. However, contract vacancies within the finance and accounting sector are particularly strong, increasing by 11%.

Ms Swain added that despite employment levels remaining close to record highs, there has been no drop in demand for contract professionals – this therefore cements the idea that a flexible workforce is an “essential element” to any workforce plan.

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