2015’s third quarter a good one for IT contractors

Researchers say that IT contractors, either working as freelancers or for an umbrella company, had a fantastic third quarter of 2015.

According to Experis, a specialist staffing agency, their research found an increase of six per cent in open positions from July through September of this year. Experis says there were more than 5,800 contract positions added for IT specialists; the staffing firm analysed some 52,000 positions over the course of its study.

This is of course fantastic news for IT contractors looking for new projects to work in the UK. In fact, it’s a bit of an anomaly, with most summers showing a marked slowdown during this time. In fact, permanent positions dropped over the third quarter, with the biggest drops in cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Cambridge, Birmingham and London – all locales that are well known for  being an excellent source of employment for IT professionals.

Once again it looks like temporary workers in the IT industry are sitting pretty in comparison to their permanent counterparts. In fact, Experis found that salaries, on average, declined by one per cent for permanent IT workers while contractor day rates went up to £410, a massive jump of four per cent!

So in other words, it’s a great time to be a freelancer or an umbrella company contractor if you’re working in the IT industry. As for what’s making the IT sector decide to position itself as a hotspot for temporary workers, well for what it’s worth I think it’s a bit of a “perfect storm” situation, as you have all these new and emergent technological specialities like cloud computing or big data, and firms that want to remain competitive have to attract the absolute best of the best. You can’t do that by paying IT workers rubbish, so pay rates go up in order to entice these luminaries.

Meanwhile, why the push towards temp workers instead of permanent ones? The short answer is the skills shortage is still wreaking havoc with the employment sector, and nowhere is it most apparent than in the IT industry where there’s a massive need for workers with enhanced education and experience but only a handful of workers with the requisite skills. The majority of these blokes and birds are working as freelancers, making it extremely difficult to source permanent workers, so employers are reducing the resources they’re spending on traditional employees and instead funneling those resources into temporary IT workers.

Will this trend last? For a little while, at least. Will the IT freelancer population support the increased demand? Well, I suppose we’re about to find out, aren’t we? Better strap yourselves in – we’re all going to be in for a bit of a bumpy ride!

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