IT contractor jobs market strengthened in July

The UK’s IT contractor jobs market moved deeper into growth territory in July, easing fears that the previous month’s Brexit-induced slowdown is a sign of things to come.

In fact, demand for temporary IT skills stands at 53.7 according to the latest Report on Jobs from staffing body the REC, compared with 52.8 in June, the referendum month.

The improvement for freelance techies appears to tally with data from recruitment giant Reed, which used a 14% hike in IT jobs since the ‘Leave’ vote to bat away fears about Brexit.

Also like the Reed data, the REC report indicates Developers to be the ‘hottest’ temporary IT job candidate of the moment, as they are the only hue of IT contractor to be in “short supply.”

But like the 53.7 index score (versus 59.2 last July), this smacks of a deterioration for IT freelancers, as six skills were scarce -- and therefore ripe for rate premiums -- as recently as April.

The permanent market may therefore be more exploitable, as it currently shows seven IT skills to be in short supply on a full-time basis due to a lack of skilled applicants.

The seven which IT contractors will be hoping clients give up trying to fill internally are; Business Analysis, e-Marketing, Embedded Software, Java, .Net, SQL and Web Development.

But it may not be due to candidate shortages that posts go unfilled. “A dramatic freefall in July… [saw] permanent hiring dropping to levels not seen since the recession of 2009,” says REC’s chief executive Kevin Green, speaking about all sectors, not just IT.

He added: “Businesses are highly cautious about committing to new hires. Economic turbulence following the vote to leave the EU is undoubtedly the root cause...[and] we’re now seeing the added problem of individuals deciding to stay put rather than change jobs in the current environment.”

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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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