IT contracting continues to flourish despite unsettled economy

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Leading IT contractor website, Contract Eye, says that although the UK economy continues to struggle, leading market indicators suggest that the first quarter of 2013 is a good time for IT professionals to consider starting up in the contracting world.

Leading IT contractor site, Contract Eye, says that although the UK economy continues to struggle, leading market indicators suggest that the first quarter of 2013 is a good time for IT professionals to consider starting up in the contracting world.

Firms more reluctant to hire permanent IT staff

James Leckie, editor and founder of the contracting news site, says that cost cutting by organisations in recent years has actually resulted in firms seeking to hire more short-term experts rather than adding to their permanent staff headcount.

Leckie explained why the start of 2013 is a good time to consider a move into contracting:

“January is traditionally a time when people consider their career options. For full-time IT professionals, the contracting option is an attractive one. Industry signals suggest that the current demand for contracting skills is stronger than at any time since the credit crunch began.”

Data included within the APSCo Annual Review 2012, released earlier this month, shows that the demand for contract staff is outpacing that of permanent staff in all industry sectors – including IT.

According to the JobsAdsWatch January 2013 quarterly update, data extracted from IT job ads posted on career sites over the past 12 months shows that the demand for contract IT staff is up by 11.2%, compared to just 6% for permanent IT workers.

Leckie explained why firms are increasingly turning to contractors to fill short-term gaps in projects:

“Firms of all sizes are more reluctant to take on traditional staff during times of economic uncertainty, as the associated costs can be considerable. Contract staff, on the other hand, can be hired at short notice, without the need to undertake a lengthy hiring process.”

“This trend, coupled with a more general movement towards ‘flexible working’, is taking place at a time of remarkable advances in internet technology and web-based collaboration and communication tools. “

“Freelancing, and flexible working are likely to become the norm rather than the exception.”

Not all plain sailing for would-be IT contractors

Despite the positive signs for the IT contracting industry as a whole, Leckie says that prospective contractors should take care when weighing up their career options, as the market is still competitive for many.

“Although the demand for IT contractors has recovered significantly since 2008/9, the market is still competitive, and average rates have been kept in check since the credit crunch.”

“I would recommend IT professionals find out what demand there is for their specific skills within the contracting market first, and look at the potential rewards of contracting compared to the relative comforts of remaining in permanent employment.”

“Contracting can be a very rewarding career – both in terms of potentially higher earning power, and also in the flexibility it offers.

“We hope that our online guides to contracting can help IT pros make the right choice.”

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Note to Editors:

Contract Eye Limited also operates two further niche sites aimed at the contracting community:

Company Bug – a guides-based site dedicated to limited company contracting.

ITCA (IT Contractor Accountants) - a microsite aimed at contractors seeking the services of a specialist accountant.

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