IT contractor demand climbs to six-month high

The improvement in demand that IT contractors saw in January consolidated last month, returning such temporary computer professionals with the brightest four-week period since August last year. 

Publishing its Report on Jobs for February, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation scored IT contractor demand at 53.9 - the highest reading this year and stronger than the quarter which preceded it.

Out of the eight key temporary staff sectors which REC analyses, IT is currently ranked third in the demand stakes – compared with first last year, when demand for such freelance techies was 63.2.

Although that means appetite for contract IT workers is still some way off its peak, and is less than this time a year ago, IT hiring, overall, has clearly returned to end-users’ staffing agendas.

According to the February report, IT and Computing is the most sought-after permanent candidate-type out of the seven others, buoyed by shortages of developers, project managers and SAP specialists for full-time openings.

Just a single IT skill emerged as scarce on a contract basis – CIM - quite a contrast to the long list of temporary IT skills that REC agents found hard to source in January, when they also struggled to find 10 permanent IT skills.

But accompanying first quarter figures pertaining to temporary IT recruitment are said to show considerable demand for C++ candidates, particularly from security and defence sectors.

In fact, demand for such developers where they have experience in an embedded or real-time context in either Linux or Windows environment is “strong,” said Jenrick, reflecting on its data.

The IT jobs agency added: “There are also very good opportunities for people working within the gaming and computer hardware manufacturing industry to work on important, high-profile projects with cutting-edge technologies.”           

This emphasis on end-users currently wanting technical nous is borne out in the REC’s report. As well as its member agents placing more IT workers than they did in January, they found engineers were the hottest temporary candidate in February, and they were also the second hottest candidate on a permanent basis.

More generally, all job candidates should expect “cautious optimism” on the part of end-users, the REC report says, while, specifically for temps, their prospects shouldn’t suffer too much due to the Agency Workers Regulations.

Put another way, report co-author KMPG said “a reduction in contract placement may yet” transpire from the AWR, but 84% of client organisations polled last month said they intended to maintain or increase their use of temporary staff over the coming year.

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