Clients want you – they just don’t want to pay you

So it turns out that freelancers and umbrella company contractors in the IT field are in high demand right now – but not if you charge too much.

I know it sounds bizarre, but bear with me here: new research from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation says that demand for tech specialists was up in October much higher than it was just 12 short months ago. This is of course the good news for all you IT professionals out there. However, that’s where the good news ends: while demand levels have been rocketing, pay rate increases have fallen flat. In other words, businesses desperately want your services but they can’t pay you more than a pittance for all your hard work.

Now, I suppose that sounds a bit ungrateful. If it does, I apologise – it’s just frustrating to know that freelancers and contractors are working their little bums right off but they’re not getting paid commensurate to the amount of work they do. Sure, pay rates are still trending upwards, but not by much – projections for 2014 say that we’re likely to see a 1.2 per cent increase. 2015 doesn’t look much better with industry experts predicting pay rate increases of 1.4 per cent. But hey, at least it’s positive growth yeah?

Meanwhile, it’s probably not something that private companies are responsible for. For what it’s worth, most companies that are run by actual people know that the best way to get work done is to keep their employees and contractors well-paid, especially when it comes to specialists like IT workers. No, the big problem is coming from the public sector instead.

Don’t tell me you’re surprised. You probably know as well as I do how tight-fisted the Government is right now, and I can’t think of even one public sector division that isn’t being watched very closely to make sure that its expenditures are placed under control. Part of this is scaling back pay rates for contractors and freelancers taking public sector contracts, and I’m sure that’s the driving factor behind the poor pay rate increase figures for both this year and the ones projected for next year.

Thankfully we’ve still got private sector contracts to rely upon. It may not be ideal but at least companies run on a profit-making basis rely on more than just collecting taxes to build revenue, eh?

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