IT contractors lead temporary staff demand

IT contractors were the most sought-after temporary professionals in the UK in November, despite strong growth in demand for their skills lessening for the third month in a row.

In fact, according to the latest Report on Jobs, IT on a temporary basis was more in-demand than eight other services last month, even though its index score fell to 63.3.

It compares to 65.5 in October and 66.2 in September, showed the report’s author the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), which says a plus-50 score indicates growth.

The current reading implies that the temporary IT labour market is shaping up for the slowdown traditionally seen in the run-up to Christmas, which a recruiter foresees this year

Yet the REC suggests that, except for those at UBS perhaps, most new IT contractors are unlikely to be out in the cold on their rate, in line with an analyst’s forecast.

“High-skilled professions such as IT…continue to see skill shortages, leading to increased rates of pay for new hires,” the confederation wrote, in a feature in its November report.

In IT, such shortages are most acute around Java, as the October dearth of permanent staff trained in it persisted last month, just as a new shortage of contractors who can develop in it emerged.

There is also a lack of Business Analysts for temporary contracts, whereas full-time positions are short of web designers, digital marketers and other permies, like those with PHP, C++ and .Net.

“Not much sign of a happy Christmas in the job market,” reflected KPMG’s Bernard Brown, pointing to sign-off for new full-time jobs being at its slowest rate for 18 months.

Permies in IT may share his gloom. Their demand is still in the black, but the growth rate has eased every month since August and, unlike it is for IT contractors, is smaller than it was the same time a year ago.

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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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