The Recruitment and Employment Confederation says that IT and engineering contractors were in high demand in December and that demand levels are only to go up.
The REC’s latest monthly Jobs Outlook survey, this time for December 2014, found that firms are practically falling over each other for engineering freelancers and umbrella company contractors with IT skills. The companies surveyed by the trade industry body say that the skills shortage is absolutely to blame, with around 20 per cent of survey respondents believing that the dearth of talented permanent employees will just deepen over time. This is of course bad news for anyone looking to hire on a permanent employee – but freelancers and contractors with the requisite skills and experience are practically dancing in the streets with the amount of demand they’re seeing – and that they will likely continue to see.
Many of these firms are being pressurised to grow and expand their businesses in order to respond to the recovering economy, but they’re finding it nearly impossible because there’s just not enough traditional workers out there with the right level of skills and expertise to qualify for these vacant positions. The only way to remain competitive for these firms is to turn to interim workers instead, hoping that a short-term fix will give them enough breathing room to find that IT or engineering worker that can do more than just find his arse with both hands. Good luck finding one of them, I say, what with the abysmal track record of universities churning out enough STEM workers that have the skills and knowledge to actually excel in these roles.
So yes, if you’re an IT contractor or an engineering freelancer you’re likely sitting pretty right now. It wouldn’t surprise me if you’re beating job offers away with a rather large stick; rejoice, because you likely have the pick of the litter right now and this situation will continue for at least the next few months or so. Does this mean you can rest on your laurels? Of course not – but at least you’ve got some much-needed security for now when it comes to finding new contracts after your existing one runs its course. That is unless your client is so keen to keep you that they’ll extend or renew your contract, which is of course perfectly possible too.