Clients warned of waning IT contractor ‘loyalty’

Specialists and strategists were among the hottest IT job candidates in June, particularly if they were looking for temporary IT roles in the private sector or offered experience in retail.

Releasing its latest billings, Computer People hinted that all contract candidates should have noticed some sort of upturn, as the pool of temporary IT roles grew for the second month in a row.

But retail was by far the strongest engine – creating 18% more IT contractor jobs, followed by Media and Creative (IT contracts up 5%) and then Telecoms (up 0.5%).

Financial services, having cooled in April, failed to follow the monthly growth pattern though (0.13% fewer IT contracts), as did the public sector, where new IT contracts dried up by 8 per cent.

However the slippages failed to shrink the market overall – compared to the previous month, there were marginally more temporary IT jobs in June and, against last year, they increased by almost 6 per cent.

Pay is also heading in the right direction, notably at the top – where rates for IT directors and department leaders crept towards 4 per cent, returning an average of £96 per hour.

Many of June’s bright spots for contractors benefitted permanent candidates too: salaries for IT directors came in marginally healthier than the previous month while, across all IT occupations, retail posted 6% more vacancies.

Whether it is the scenes of retailers continuing to invest more in IT, or the extra few pounds at the top of the IT career ladder, the market conditions are inspiring more IT workers, specifically “specialists”, to gamble their existing job for something better.

“We’re seeing IT candidates become more willing to speak to recruitment agencies”, said Computer People’s director Sid Barnes. “This could signal a drop in contractor loyalty as…candidates are likely to risk moving jobs”.

Further fluidity in the market is expected for IT-business professionals, as many organisations are currently asking their IT department to make in-house systems more efficient – “internal process improvement.”

“Once better efficiency has been delivered, we anticipate focus to shift to implementing new internal procedures”, Mr Barnes said. “[So] we’ll be seeing a continued rise in vacancies for business intelligence professionals, business analysts and project managers.”

The IT recruitment company said that, as a result, the onus is going to be on end-users to have retention strategies in place, assuming they wish to keep hold of their “quality” computer workers.

Jul 28, 2011