IT contractor demand climbed in December

The IT contractor jobs market finished 2016 in relative strength but – as expected – fell short of any runaway in demand.

Published this morning, Report on Jobs by the REC scores IT contractor demand at 56.3 for December, up slightly on November’s index score (55.5) and level-pegging with October’s.

The score is down on December a year ago, when the index for IT contractor demand reached the low 60s, before it began a gradual decline that lasted throughout 2016’s first quarter.

But just as December 2015 did, last month notched up a higher score than some preceding spring, summer and autumnal months, notably May, June, July, August and September.

On the ground, it means IT contractor demand has been growing throughout the entire year (any REC index score over 50.0 signals growth on the previous month), but was stronger in December 2016 than in each of those five months.

A long list of permanent jobs that were last month hard to fill due to shortages of IT skills won’t have hurt the acceleration in demand for contractors, even though not all are programming-based.

Recruiters struggled to find full-time applicants for sales, digital marketing and CAD Design, for example, as well as for more traditional IT roles requiring Java, .Net, DevOps, Testing and Security.

Contractors will hope clients give up looking for staff in these areas and resort to freelance personnel instead, especially as contactor availability seems high as Testing, DevOps and Java Development are the only IT skills that the report says are scarce on a temporary basis.

Jan 10, 2017