Firms urged to up their offers to IT contractors

Firms that wish to avoid holes in their tech workforce must “up” their offers to skilled IT contractors or settle for less able computer freelancers who they can afford, an agency says.

Speaking to ContractorUK, Arrows Group suggested this was the choice if a “clear gap” that currently exists between the rate expectations of clients and contractors cannot be bridged.

The IT staffing group has told firms to have “realistic [pay] expectations” otherwise, it warns, some of them “won’t get the skill level they are demanding” for the rates they are setting.

“We expect this matching of expectations…to last for the rest of the year,” predicted Arrows Group’s Paul Winchester, referring to a “lot” of negotiations currently being held over rates.

“Clients often want the world for a set amount of money… [but they] will have to up their game or accept a candidate with less of the skills for the money that they are willing to pay.”

That willingness appeared to lessen between March and April this year, when Barclays, RBS and ONS each told their freelance IT workers to accept a lower rate or be terminated.

But Arrows believes it is rate expectations, not reductions, that is now the big issue, in line with another IT recruiter’s alert that clients pushing to save money is still high up the agenda.

“I don’t think that ‘take it or leave’ offers are industry-wide,” reflected Mr Winchester.

“But [the] gap in the expectations of what the client wants to pay and what the contractor is expecting…is creating almost an ‘unofficial shortage’” of suitable candidates in the market. 

As a result, he says an “element of compromise” has been suggested to clients, though “the main thing” that businesses are concerned about now is “getting their product or release out.”

Yet if businesses haven’t got all the IT expertise they need, ensuring that their product or release is deployed in a timely manner over the coming weeks may be a challenge.

“Hiring slows down around July/August”, Winchester warned. “[This is due] to candidates not being around and the people that make the hiring decisions being away.”

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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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