Demand for IT contractors remains high despite market uncertainty. According to industry analysis by SJD Accountancy, 8.7 per cent of organisations hired more IT contactors over the past six months compared to the slight dip following the Brexit referendum.
At the same time, fewer organisations are delaying contract extensions to the last minute – down from 9.7 per cent to 4.4 per cent – which suggests that they are keen to lock contractors in and avoid losing critical skills to competitors. Contract lengths are also on the up, with investment in long term projects claiming 31.2 per cent of IT contractors work compared to 23.6 per cent this time last year.
Demand for other IT skills are also trending upwards. The proportion of IT contractors who have seen an increase in their daily rates over the past year has remained steady, and there has been a slight fall in rate cuts. In total 23.7 per cent of contractors reported an increase in their daily rates, compared to 23.3 per cent 12 months ago. 19.1 per cent of IT contractors recently experienced a reduction in rates, down from 19.9 per cent last September.
Derek Kelly, Chief Executive Officer of SJD Accountancy, said that the figures represent a restored confidence in the market following the initial shock from Brexit. “Demand for IT contractors has proved resilient in the face of continuing economic uncertainty,” he said. “The initial shock of the Brexit vote led to some panic layoffs but many organisations have since upped their quota of contractors as the economy has continued to confound expectations of a serious downturn.
“In some respects lingering uncertainty is likely to favour contractors who are more suited to short-term projects that produce a quick return on investment than permanent hires. We are also starting to see large financial services businesses begin work on technology risk management projects related to Brexit, which is creating demand for contract roles.”
He added: “The UK continues to be a major hub for fintech and big data, among other digital technologies, and its appeal to tech investors has not been tarnished by Brexit. While tech businesses are guarded about the prospects for the UK economy, many of these businesses generate a significant proportion of their revenues from exports, which will have been buoyed by the devaluation of the pound.”