Growth in IT contractor demand takes its first dip

The first slowdown so far this year in an upturn in demand for their services hit IT contractors in April, ending a four-month growth spree.

In fact, staffing body the REC yesterday scored IT contractor demand at 60.3, only slightly below March (60.5), but representing the first downward growth revision since December.

April is often a time of new budgets being approved for IT hiring, but for contractors the start of the next financial year sits between the traditionally busier months of March and June.

However, demand for IT skills overall is still “huge” (any REC index score over 50.0 implies monthly growth), says Recruitment & Employment Confederation director Tom Hadley.     

As a result, and similar to what the REC said in its previous Report on Jobs, “now is a good time to look for a new job, as [candidates] are in a strong position to negotiate higher pay.”

In the technology sector, the implied premiums for jumping jobs or contracts are most likely to be found attached to skills which end-users say they are finding hard to source.

They are (on both a permanent and freelance basis); Automation Testing, CAD, IT Security, Data, DevOps, Digital, Gaming, GDPR, IT/Tech, Java, Oracle Fusion, UI/UX.

Not scarce for permanent vacancies, but in short supply for temporary assignments are IT consultants skilled in Infrastructure, Python and Software Development.

By contrast, there is a dearth of full-time applicants -- but not contractors -- skilled in C#, .Net, Ruby, Software Engineering and Telecoms.

Yet money isn’t the only way to lure such scarce techies, because despite “our data [showing that end-users] are paying more to attract” talent, “candidate availability keeps dropping.”

The REC added: “This is about more than just pay, it is about providing… a positive workplace culture. As recruitment gets harder the only solution for employers is to get better at attracting and retaining the right skills”.

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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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