New data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) shows a year-on-year rise in the number of temporary placements in the UK labour market.

The temporary outlook matched up with it permanent counterpart, which also saw a rise of 1%.

The outlook in different sectors varied significantly however. Areas such as engineering and IT rose substantially, but finance, for example, saw a decrease in the number of placements available.

One interesting element of the figures was the decrease across many sectors in median salary for permanent roles. With more take home pay as a contractor, this could signal a good time to make the transition, as not only will pay be greater as a contractor, but it looks like salaries in permanent roles are stalling somewhat.

Ann Swain, chief executive of APSCo, said that the figures indicated in the recent data were indicative of a cautious UK labour market, but that the right steps were being made in certain sectors.

“It is not all doom and gloom with several indicators suggesting that the UK is faring better than expected following the referendum,” said Swain. “The IMF has raised its forecast for economic growth this year, the latest Purchasing Managers’ Index shows manufacturing growth at a 30 year high, and the latest PwC survey reveals 89% of CEOs are optimistic about growth prospects in 2017 – up from 85% last year.”

This last point could be very good news for contractors, who may see a rise in demand for their services if such growth does occur.