Contract IT jobs market 'in an excellent position’

The pool of temporary IT contracts expanded in July by almost 4 per cent on both a monthly and annual basis, according to computer staffing firm Computer People.

In June, the recruitment agency was downbeat about the temporary IT labour market, saying that negative growth since January indicated it would flatline from the third quarter onwards.

But speaking on Wednesday, the agency said the availability of IT contracts actually notched up by 3.9% in July and, compared to the same month last year, is also up -- by 3.4%.

While the recruiter is still cautious about the IT jobs market – it spoke of the “historically challenging summer holiday period” to come – it is more optimistic than in June.

Then, its managing director Niall Cook said: “All our indicators suggest that the temporary IT jobs market is shrinking... and that the market will flatline in Q3.”

However now he says: “The forecast is looking extremely positive [for the IT market as a whole]. All the signs are that there will be both month-on-month and year-on-year growth”.

Addressing the temporary IT labour market, he said Computer People’s database shows demand for seven of the nine most popular IT contractor skills is up on last year and is rising.  

The largest rise in July was for ERP contractors (up 13.7%), ahead of freelance Technical Architects (up 11.6%), followed by contract Web developers (up 5.6%).

“The contract market is in a slightly better position than a year ago. It is worth remembering that this is still an excellent position,” Mr Cook said this week.

“Twelve months ago the contract market was sustained by an impending global event, The Olympics, which buoyed the IT contract market. The fact that the market has been able to return to this high level should be taken as a huge positive.”

Contractors skilled in software engineering, project management or straight IT management were among July’s hottest candidates (each up by more than 10%), as were contract IT directors – up by 200%, albeit from an extremely low base.

“The job market for IT professionals is looking positive with both permanent and contract opportunities enjoying year-on-year growth,” said Computer People.

“The increased demand suggests that businesses are looking to reform their back end processes and starting to consider growth options. Boost in Business Intelligence, Director and Project Management roles also suggest that businesses are bringing in talent to evaluate strategy and performance.”

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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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