IT contractor demand hits a new high for 2017

Demand for IT contractors leapt in August to a higher level than at any other month of 2017, a recruitment body’s index indicates.

Published by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, the index measuring growth in demand for IT skills on a temporary basis shows a score of 62.1.

That is higher than both 61.1 in the last REC Report on Jobs, which covered IT contractor demand in July, and 61.9 in May -- this year’s high, until now.

And the confederation’s fuller records show that the last time when demand for IT freelancers was higher than it was last month was back in in April 2015, when it hit 62.2.


Back then, the engine of IT contractor demand was the beginning of a new financial year. Currently, the engine is less pinpointable but the REC did speak of certain causes and effects.

“Businesses are seeking more professional and managerial capability,” said confederation CEO Kevin Green

“So we’re seeing high demand for roles like financial directors, analysts and compliance”.

Yet this trio is just an example of the “many areas” of the labour market where candidate supply is not meeting demand, the report says.

'More money'

The result is that end-users are having to stump up cash to avoid their IT projects going without. “Employers are having to offer more money”, Mr Green acknowledged.

“While the working population in general has experienced a pay squeeze, there are clearly opportunities now to earn more by moving jobs.”

The sheer availability of premiums for IT contractors will be reassuring to some, as hundreds of such workers were last month earmarked for termination at two top banks -- HSBC and RBS.

'Short supply'

But these IT contractors -- and potentially others too -- are most likely to 'fall on their feet' if they can demonstrate experience in six specialisms.

In particular, and according to the August report, Devops, E-commerce, Generalist IT, Java, UI/UX Tester and Security Cleared (SC) contractors are all "in short supply."

REC agencies also reported a dearth of full-time IT job candidates to fill vacancies requiring SC, CAD Design, Devops, E-commerce, PHP Development, UI/UX and General IT.

The confederation said: “[Recruiters see] now [as] being a good time for people to consider moving jobs, while employers are having to offer more money to secure the people with the skills they need.”

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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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