IT contractor demand returns to its 2012 peak

Demand for temporary IT workers over the last four weeks returned to its strongest level so far this year, positioning August as the brightest month for IT contractors since February, despite still being shy of real-terms growth.

Unveiling its latest Report on Jobs on Friday, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation scored IT contractor demand at 53.9 – up from 51.6 in July, down on 55.7 last August, yet level-pegging with the high of six months ago.

Client organisations simply being more active drove the rise in short-term appointments, the report says, although it was exclusively thanks to the private sector, whereas the public sector’s demand for contractors declined sharply.

Permanent IT job-seekers witnessed fewer opportunities from both sectors and, annually, they are more than three index points adrift of real-terms growth, compared with a shortfall of only 1.8 points for IT contractors.

But both the IT markets are short on key skills: Linux, Net, PHP, architecture and app development are scare on permanent basis, as are infrastructure, testing, PHP, IT consultancy and app development on a temporary basis.

Pointing to the contract labour market as a whole, the REC found that new candidate numbers are still on the up, but noted that the rise in their availability in August was the slowest since May 2011. Unfortunately for those in work, pay rates are yet to reflect this by increasing.

Bernard Brown, head of business services at KPMG, the report’s co-author, reflected on the headline findings: “It would be easy to suggest that an upward curve in the jobs market is nothing more than a blip.

“But the truth is that, in some parts of the country, we are actually seeing a growth in the number of companies recruiting and where there is a decline it is now virtually insignificant.”

 

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