'Weary' financers in IT contractor retreat

The environment for IT contractors seeking work in financial services appears just as volatile as the market conditions their prospective clients hope to have left behind.

Speaking last week, London-based pre-employment screening firm Powerchex said the monthly stock of IT contractors through its doors was" fluctuating substantially."

June was the best month - when the number of newly approved financial IT contracts rose 187% on January, though since July and August, the pile has shrunk by 62%.

The firm's figures add that, despite IT contractors' faith in financial services returning, there were 75% fewer financial IT contracts handed out last month than in August 2009.

Asked yesterday about the decline, the firm's founder said IT contractors' end-users in London were varying their intake depending on the health of the financial markets.

But Alexandra Kelly also explained that clients hadn't helped. She told CUK: "After the recession, financial services clients over-hired and kicked off a lot of projects ahead of their true business need."

The result has been a hiring slowdown - shown by the total number of contract and job offers to the six key financial sector workers falling in August by 10%, Powerchex found.

Although this overall drop in financial placements is the first of its kind this year, Kelly believes it is a sign of things to come, particularly for the less mobile IT contractor.

"The summer has brought a slowdown and the prediction now is that the fourth quarter will be slower than anticipated...[as] clients are becoming weary", she said.

"A few are considering moving some operations outside the UK, [so] expect to see more growth in international assignments for IT contractors, especially in Asia."

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