Categorized | alan's blog, news

Looking forward, cautiously…

Looking forward, cautiously…

Been some rather contradictory stories in the press this week. Nothing new in that I guess, but it does make guessing what the job market is going to do a bit tricky.

There has been an unexpected drop in the numbers claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance, which is welcome news. Except that someone immediately countered that by pointing out a lot of people are taking on temporary or part time jobs. OK, but they’re still back in work, even if it is at a reduced level.

Then we get someone else pointing out that there are increasing numbers of economically inactive people out there. These are the ones who haven’t got a job and are not claiming benefits. And if you look at all the figures and not just bits of them, the actual shift in new people in work is tiny – around 7,500.

All in all, not a reliable way of seeing what’s going on…

What does seem to be clear is that work for freelancers is likely to increase as more and more companies realise the recession is bottoming out and get back to work. The PCG think the same if you read their latest press releases, that companies are turning to us freelances to get things going again. The general thinking seems to be that companies will still be nervous about the future so use temporary people that can be dropped if the economy goes back into reverse. Which it may, according to some (presumably) competent observers, who think we may still have the promised double-dip recession.

It’s a bit like climate change really. Two sets of experts taking the same data and coming to contrary opinions about what it means.

So let’s use a rather more empirical method. If I run a search for contracts available for my skill set, I see considerably more than I did before Christmas. Which sounds like good news. Or is it – a lot of them are in finance or public sector, which didn’t really suffer too badly anyway. And there still aren’t too many development roles, most are concerned with business as usual stuff. So how many of these “new” jobs are actually from agencies trawling for CVs in case the job market really does pick up? Which means there might not be as many jobs as at first appears: they may even be less.

All in all, I think I will simply wait and see what happens. That way, I can’t be accused of getting the forecast wrong!

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