IT contractor pay growth 'yet to materialise'

Demand for IT workers is more than twice as strong for temporary or contract personnel than it is for employees, shows a report by the UK computer skills council.

According to e-skills, although conditions for the average job seeker worsened, demand for IT contractors grew by 10%, compared with growth of 4% for IT staff.

Focused within London and the south of England, the uptick for IT workers was driven by the financial services and electronics industries, the first quarter report says.

The two sectors' increased appetite for IT skills exerted "upward pressure" on the average advertised rate, allowing a 3% return between October 2009 and March 2010.

But with an average rise of just 1.3% per better-off contractor, real-terms growth in IT contractor pay was actually "less inspiring" than jobs board saw during the period.

E-skills added that, despite some boards showing 9% premiums in the first quarter, "an overall increase in 'real pay' (i.e. actual earnings received) has yet to materialise".

IT contractors skilled in Windows 2000, Prince Exchange, VPN, Windows NT and SMS will wait the longest, as their demand has sunk for the last six quarters in a row.

Even worse off are contract PC support and software engineers who, like database, operations and networking contractors, have lost jobs in each of the past nine quarters.

In total, 14 contract IT skills have dried up since October 2009, found e-skills, reflecting on both official and industry data, compared with 48 that have grown.

The more mainstream contract skills remain out in front - led by Sybase, C# and .NET - both running the ad market, and enjoying growing demand for many months on end.

However, e-skills said its analysis of demand trends by skill reveals that the largest quarterly demand increases were reserved for the more 'niche' IT skills.

It pointed to Corba, DCOM, CAM, Fortran, PDH, CGI and 4GL as enjoying a 30% surge in placements, although, in total, the skills featured in fewer than 100 adverts.
 

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