IT contractor jobs market on track for quick recovery after second covid lockdown

A buoyant October for IT contractors primes the temporary technology jobs market to bounce back strongly, once four weeks of covid restrictions lift on December 2nd, recruiters suggest.

This consensus, from three agencies quizzed by ContractorUK - SThree, Hays and First Point Group, implies November will be a write-off, given many workplaces will close for the month.

But even now, approaching the quarter point of shutdown -- one week in, “we haven’t observed any negative impact [on IT contractor billings] from the second lockdown”.

'Fairly prepared'

Hays IT boss James Milligan explained his assessment. “Businesses have gone into this fairly prepared. Business continuity and demand remains strong despite…[the] restrictions.”  

The jury is still out according to SThree as to the precise impact of the four-week closure, but the staffing firm agrees that hirers found their feet in October, in line with data from agency body REC.

“We’ll have to wait until early next week to understand any impact on orders based on the second national lockdown,” says SThree’s commercial director Charlie Cox.

'Good rhythm'

“However there feels to be a good business rhythm of late, and it means that we are able to continue bringing skilled people together”.

“We are still seeing good levels of hiring and activity,” echoed First Point Group’s David Taylor, confirming such a continuation.

“But…clients are often holding off major expansion plans till the new year and the passing or easing of COVID-19 [restrictions].This is often a common theme.”

'Clients adapting'

Nonetheless, the London-based recruiter for tech companies and telcos said IT contractors in ‘necessity roles’ were not subject to the holding off, and were still being ‘actively hired.’

 “We are also seeing many clients adapt to home working and indeed hiring remote starters – again, often from necessity -- as business must continue,” Mr Taylor said, adding:

“So I am hopeful that when [the] coronavirus [lockdown] eases the market will recover quickly. How much the introduction of the IR35 changes dents the contract market, remains to be seen.”

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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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