Appetite for IT contractors 'softer but still sharp'

Demand for IT contractors largely mirrored the wider temporary labour market in June, meaning growth in billings cooled but only slightly from the high in May.

In fact, like the “softening” of the still “sharp” appetite for all non-permanent professionals, demand for IT contractors last month moved to 60.3, compared with 61.9, said the REC.

Underlining how strong demand seems to be, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) said that any score over 50 signalled a higher hiring level than a month ago.

But candidates’ prospects -- and their fortunes -- don’t depend only on demand. Availability plays a part too.

And in June, the temporary candidate pool narrowed at a faster rate than in May, forcing already pressed clients to stump up cash to avoid their summer projects going without.

“With fewer people currently looking for jobs, employers are having to increase starting salaries to secure the talent they need,” says REC’s policy director Tom Hadley.

“This is creating great opportunities for people with in-demand skills who are prepared to change jobs…[just at a time when] existing skills shortages are being exacerbated by Brexit.”

It is in the permanent IT market where technology skills shortages are most acute, as it was in May. But unlike then when there were 14 tech roles deemed hard to fill, there are now eight.

They are -- CNC Programmers; Digital, Audio/Visual, Gaming, CAD Design, General IT and, the most stubborn given that they were scarce last month, Development and IT Security.

CAD Design and Cyber Security are IT skills in short supply among freelance and contract candidates too, the REC found, alongside General IT and Software Development.

“[Government] policies which make it more difficult to recruit and retain these people [those who already proving hard to source] will put business growth at risk,” Mr Hadley said.

“The government needs to outline a five-year roadmap for post-Brexit immigration policy to enable businesses to plan effectively, and so the UK economy can flourish.”

Editor’s Note: Related --

IT contractors get the blues over Brexit

Hard Brexit ‘could cost IT sector £5.2bn a year’

IT recruiter pinpoints ‘hot’ contractor niches

Profile picture for user Simon Moore

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.
Printer Friendly, PDF & Email

Contractor's Question

If you have a question about contracting please feel free to ask us!

Ask a question

Sign up to our newsletter

Receive weekly contractor news, advice and updates.

Every sign up will be entered into a draw to WIN £100 Amazon Vouchers.

* indicates required