Contractors for GDPR 'weren’t the priority, but now money talks'

Data clients used the first three months of this year – before the GDPR came into force – to staff up with permanent hires over contractors.

This Q1 reading by Morgan McKinley implies full-timers were prioritised at the front-end of GDPR projects, as another agent has said contractors had the edge ‘after the rules applied.’

But clients’ focus on long-term hires was so strong before the GDPR took effect that they began “trying to convert contract candidates to permanent”, the reading reveals.

Now however, “candidates are on the move due to most clients paying out their bonuses by the end of Q1,” added Morgan McKinley’s Angela Lewis, suggesting that workers are currently following the money.

In the contract market, Big Data Architects, especially those with experience using Hadoop and Kafka, were said by Lewis to be “able to command a premium.”

Contractors supplying Java and Testing services are at the other end of spectrum, as she said both skills had dropped off (Java, “notably”) when compared to the same time a year ago.

As to possible causes, Lewis said that where the contract market was “suffering” in Q1, it was likely down to a reduced number of projects initiated, and cost control,

Yet changing tack as an IT worker simply to acquire a ‘hot’ skill isn’t the answer. “Some candidates want to get into data science where they can command higher pay,” Lewis said.

“However clients are generally looking for more senior level professionals than are available -- managers have been seen to utilise lower skilled candidates and grow them internally.”

One sweet spot for contractors it seems, albeit in the first quarter and outside the data space, is for eTrading, Algo and KDB developers, who are “currently demanding a premium rate.”

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