Growth in IT contractor demand edged up in September, just

The uncertainty of Brexit continues to pay-off for IT contractors, as the level of growth in demand for their services increased in September -- albeit only just.

In a newly published edition of Report on Jobs, IT contractor demand comes in at 60.3, a smidge up from August -- 60.1, but level-pegging with where it was in April.

The September reading means demand for IT skills on a contract basis grew convincingly (the score is at least a full 10.0 points over the index’s 50.0 monthly-growth indicator).

Traditionally, last month is buoyant for contractors, as agents, stakeholders and decision-makers have all usually returned from their summer holidays, allowing hiring to resume without obstacles. 

But Report on Jobs' co-author, staffing body the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, flagged up a few trends which indicate the current rub is around supply, not demand.

In fact, REC member agencies identified ‘Brexit’ as the leading reason why a sense of “uncertainty” around the labour market is “driving people to stay in their current jobs.”

This has led to a “steep drop in candidate availability” which, while trying for agencies and clients, indicates less competition for those work-seekers who do want to 'jump ship.' 

And this candidate availability drop is both “across the country,” and occurring rapidly in the freelance market -- the fastest in 10 months across key temporary staff sectors, including IT but not exclusive to it.

In terms of skills availability, requirements in the IT sector are largely unchanged from August, in that there is still just a single specialism uniquely scarce among contractors.

It is Testing (it was previously Revit), and it's next to eight other scarce IT contractor skills; all of which are scarce among permies too, such as Java, Security and Software Development.

“With Brexit looming, a comprehensive mobility deal with the EU will be needed to underpin prosperity,” said the REC's chief executive Neil Carberry. “Higher skills investment, driven by a reformed Apprenticeship Levy, will also be essential.”

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