Contractor Market Rates Reports - May 2024

One of the most important things to consider as a contractor is what rate you will charge your clients. Contractor rates not only depend on your skills or experience as a contractor, but various other factors such as climate change (e.g., demand for contractors), company budgets and location. You will also need to consider the best way to charge your client, whether that’s on a daily rate, hourly rate or fixed rate.

All of the latest updates on average rates for popular IT contracting skills and contractor demands reports can be found below along with any emerging IT contractor skills and how to calculate your own contractor rate.

For more on current contractor rates and demand please visit our contractor forum where these topics are often discussed. You can also search the latest IT contract jobs here

What factors can impact your contract rate?

There are a variety of factors which affect daily rates. These are:

  • Experience – both in experience regarding previous businesses and experience involved with the technical skill to be used.
  • Location – can impact the daily rates of the contract (i.e. London offers higher rates because the cost of living is higher).
  • Industry – depending on the industry, contracting pay rates may differ (e.g. financial services will likely pay more than others).
  • Objective – depending on the importance of the role and what objectives must be accomplished through the role.
  • Company Budget – certain companies may have higher budgets than others, meaning some may offer higher contract rates compared to others.

contractor rates and demand graph

What are the three charge rates as a contractor? Daily, hourly or fixed rate 

Daily rate

The contractor charges a set amount daily -

Advantages Disadvantages

• More precise figure of income.
• Can charge more for a project compared to hourly rates (usually £400-500 or more).
• Clients prefer this option because it gives them a better idea of projected costs and helps with budgeting.

• Some clients may take advantage of contractors regarding workload. Contractors may be told to make adjustments or changes, resulting into overtime hours which will not be accounted for as charge rate is not hourly-based.

Hourly rate

The contractor charges for each hour worked -

Advantages Disadvantages
• If extra work is required from the client, the contractor can earn extra for each hour of overtime (£40+ per hour) as long as it is approved by the manager. • Can be a hassle for clients trying to figure out costs for services accurately.
• To prevent excess costs, clients often limit the hours that the contractor works. Any extra work will need client approval first.

Fixed rate

Contractors can dictate a fixed price for carrying out a project – 

Advantages Disadvantages

• Guarantees a set amount for the contractor from the beginning (extensive research should be conducted by both the contractor and client on how much the fixed rate should be).

• Can be hard to predict the duration of a project and could result in contractor being over/under paid for work.
• Similarly to daily rate, any extra work required by client on the day-to-day basis will not be accounted for.
• Negotiating a fixed rate may take longer than an hourly rate.

How do I calculate my contract rate?

Your contractor rate will depend completely on the circumstances you are in. Looking at your experience and skillset and looking at rates that other contractors charge (who have a similar level of ability and experience), will give you a rough estimate of what types of rates you should charge.

As well as comparing your rates to other contractors, you may base your contractor rate on the demand for particular skills or jobs in the market. Find out more about current IT contract jobs here

Looking at the size of the project and what will be required from you will also determine the contract rate. Understanding exactly what the client wants from you will help you valuate the contract, and you should consider the difficulty, estimated time to complete and importance of the project to the client when trying to calculate your contractor rate.

Contractor market demand reports

You can check out the latest ContractorUK market reports below:

IT contractor recovery fails to launch in April 2024, despite pay premiums on new starts
Unlike demand, rates are holding up even as engagers seemingly resort to every trick in the book not to splurge on talent.

Big turnaround in IT contractors’ job prospects detected in March 2024
Hopes raised that despite falling further last month, IT contractor demand has now bottomed out -- ahead of a potential April-June boom.

IT contractor jobs market fell in February 2024 to a 42-month low
Frustrated CEOs, candidates waiting longer, and concerned agents asking if last month’s ‘uncertainty’ is a ‘sign of harder times to come.’

Contractor guide to contract rates 

For any further guidance on contractor rates, have a look at some of our other guides which provide further details below:

Hourly or daily rate? IT contractor guide to pay
Explained - the staple payment terms of freelancing attached to your next IT contract.

Getting the right rate for the contract - negotiation for IT contractors
The basics of negotiation and establishing what rate becomes a 'deal breaker' for you.

Contract rate negotiation: How to negotiate a rate rise
An IT contractor's guide to asking for premiums.

Top 10 IT contracting skills by demand

Rank Skill Average Daily Rate
1 Agile £550
2 Azure £540
3 Data Analysis £500
4 AWS £550
5 SQL £540
6 Python £550
7 DevOps £550
8 Java £560
9 CI/CD £550
10 Linux £550

Top 10 IT contract jobs by daily rate

Rank Skill Average Daily Rate
1 Java Quantitative Developer £1,250
2 Chief Security Officer £1,000
3 Transformation Director £1,000
4 C# Quant Developer £950
5 C++ Quantitative Developer £950
6 Head of Architecture £900
7 KDB Developer £900
8 Technology Director £900
9 Qualitative Analyst £900
10 Programme Director £900

Top 10 contracting skills with the highest increase in demand year-on-year

Skill Average Daily Rate
Apache Ignite £800
Apache Avro £480
OpenLink £780
Revit £400
KDB £850
AWK £630
Endur £780
Rubrik £450
Apache Solr £580
FinOps £560

*Source: Technojobs data (Updated May 2024)

For more information on IT contractor skills and jobs please see the below:
Agile Software Development
IT support
System Testing
Remote IT jobs