IT contractor demand rockets to 15-year high

Growth in demand for IT skills on a contract basis skyrocketed last month at its fastest pace for more than 15 years, according to a new report.

In fact, labour market figures released this week show that December 2013 was the most buoyant month for IT contractors since August 1998.

Specifically, the latest Report on Jobs by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation scores growth in demand for temporary IT/Computing workers at 66.1 – the highest reading for 184 months.

Confirming this IT contracting boom to ContractorUK yesterday, the REC said it appeared that the last month of 2013 saw IT hirers seize on both rising business confidence and generally strong economic data.

The reading tallies with the group’s previous claim that IT contractors have ‘nothing to fear from rising confidence’, even though hirers traditionally favour full-time candidates once conditions improve.

IT recruitment agency Computer People was the first to foresee the contracting boom, when in August it predicted that the slowdown in hiring typically seen around Christmas would this year be replaced by a surge.

Another tech staffing firm, Spring Technology, said in November that end-users were apportioning the final quarter of 2013 to ‘gear up’ with IT contractors, in light of computer projects in January 2014.

Both forecasts were sound, as the REC data shows that IT contractors have become the most sought-after temporary professional in the UK, ahead of eight other professions of contractor, including engineering.

Elsewhere in the confederation’s report, demand for temporary IT skills is suggested to be highest around Business Intelligence, .Net, PHP, Digital Marketing and Web Development, because these skills are scarce.

Also in December, there were shortages of full-time candidates for Business Analysis, Java, Digital Marketing, PHP, Web Development and General IT positions.

Kate Shoesmith, the REC’s head of policy, reflected: “The real concern now is the mismatch between demand and supply with recruiters reporting that they can’t source suitable candidates for vacancies in a whole range of sectors.

“Companies want to hire more salespeople, accountants and businesses development staff to help their enterprises grow, but can’t find people with the right skills to take the jobs.”   

Jan 10, 2014