IT contractor demand recovers from six-month low

Demand for computer contractors who use recruitment agencies revived in May to a reading just shy of its 2012 peak, indicating that April’s drop in temporary IT billings was only a blip.

In its latest monthly Report on Jobs, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation scored growth in IT contractor demand at 54.5 – up from both 52.8 in the previous report and 49.0 last May.

That positions IT contractor demand to be growing (any reading in the REC report over 50 signals growth on the previous month) and near where it was in December (54.6), when it reached its highest point of 2012.

Although IT contractor demand growth still has some way to go to match its high of 2013 – achieved in February with a reading of 56.4, it has recovered over the last four weeks from what was its weakest reading for six months.

The market for all temporary job-seekers has followed suit, in that temporary billings for all types of contract staff placed by the REC’s member agencies rose in May, “reversing a fall in the previous month.”

The report adds that where increases in the use of short-term staff were recorded, as they were on the IT market, the recruiters attributed them to “growing workloads” at client organisations.

“The use of temps is growing after last month’s blip,” reflected REC’s chief executive Kevin Green. “The only cloud on the horizon is that the skills mismatch is becoming more pronounced.”

In line with his warning, the number of IT contractor skills in short supply rose in the last month from three main areas to four.

In fact, while April’s shortage of candidates for SAP, Solution Architecture and General IT contracts has abated, recruiters are now struggling to find contractors for Java, Software Engineering, Digital Marketing and Unix contracts.

By contrast, the shortage of permanent IT skills has eased from at least 10 candidate-types to five. The latest list of sought-after IT staff features those for roles in Digital Marketing, Software Development, Virtualisation, PHP and Java.

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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