IT contractors' index score drops, negligibly

The New Year failed to bring any drastic change to the IT contractor labour market, which scored 60.2 points on a national demand index in January, versus 61.0 before Christmas.

Similarly, IT skill shortages remain vast on a full-time basis and confined among contractors, whose market is still growing - as a +50 index score signals more demand than a month ago.

This sense of inactivity may relate to what KPMG, which publishes the index with staffing body the REC, said in December, when IT contractors’ score reached its highest since April.

Writing then, and appearing to explain the 6-month high for IT contractors, KPMG’s Bernard Brown said clients and candidates were “keen to complete negotiations before Christmas.”

Assuming successful negotiations, the offer of a contract for three months would typically ensue, meaning a client who ties-up in December may fulfil their hiring need until February or later.

So the currently slower rate of growth in demand that IT contractors are seeing could be due solely to clients getting many of the IT contractors they needed before Christmas.

However some aren’t easy to find. Java contractors were labelled as ‘scarce’ by the REC in December and they remained scarce in January. General developers are currently scarce too.

The third IT skill now in short supply for contracts is Gaming. Although seen by some purists to be outside the core skills of an IT contractor, it seems to be gaining ground in the rate-rich City.

In fact, an investment management company has hired techies with video games development experience to ‘gamify’ its app, which will see users ‘play’ with certain financial scenarios.       

The Financial Times also reported that some of those hired to engage ‘millennial’ professionals who the app will be aimed at have coded popular versions of games for Nintendo consoles.

But according to the REC, gaming skills are not in short supply for permanent jobs, unlike BI, Development; Digital Marketing, E-commerce, Java, .Net, Ruby on Rails and Web skills.

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