IT contractor demand edges up by six per cent

IT contractors’ hirers appear to have found their feet again following the wobble in confidence in October at the fear of Budget 2018 immediately imposing IR35 reforms.

In fact, “flexible vacancies” in Technology expanded by six per cent in November 2018 -- the month after the government said it would shelve the reforms until April 2020.

That annual six per cent increase in IT contractor demand is up from just three per cent in August, and compares to readings of minus-seven and minus-eight per cent earlier in 2018.

But agency group APSCo, which produced the figures with Staffing Industry Analysts, showed that one trend from the summer is still intact, and likely to worsen.

“The number of contractors out on assignment is notably lower than a year ago, which we suspect is reflective on incoming changes to IR35 in the private sector.

“And with further changes to legislation around the use of contingent workers now confirmed,” APSCo said, partly referring to brolly workers, “it will be no surprise if this trend continues.”    

The IT sector is a case in point. Although the reduction appears to be easing (from a peak of minus-38 per cent), APSCo says that freelance IT placements are now down by 21 per cent.

According to the group, the number of temporary IT placements has been decreasing steadily ever since November 2016 -- a few months after IR35 reform in the public sector was first touted as a precursor to IR35 reform in the private sector.

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