IT contractors will see growth ahead

Monday 19 August 2013

IT contractors are in prime position to take advantage of market growth after research has found that vacancies show no sign of decreasing.

The latest analysis by recruitment firm Computer People showed that the IT contract market expanded by 3.47 per cent last month compared to the previous year. From June, the number of vacancies rose by a healthy 3.98 per cent.

Computer People says that this growth is even more impressive since demand had been higher than usual last year. In the run-up to the London Olympic Games, the report authors add, demand was kept artificially high, meaning that improvements this year are an even greater achievement.

“The forecast is looking extremely positive. All the signs are that there will be both month-on-month and year-on-year growth as we move forward, despite moving into the historically challenging summer holiday period,” says Niall Cook, Computer People managing director, in his introduction to the study.

Some job functions have reported dramatic declines that were offset elsewhere. For example, contract vacancies for application analysts fell by more than 17 per cent, while demand for software testers dropped by 11 per cent. Smaller slips were reported in areas such as network engineering, and consultancy.

However, there were also impressive rises in other areas as demand for IT managers rose by 17 per cent, while software engineers saw a 14 per cent increase in opportunities. Project managers also enjoyed better conditions, as the number of contracts available rose by nearly 18 per cent. As a percentage, though, the most dramatic rise was the 213 per cent increase in vacancies for directors - but this made little different to the number of roles available, since the total only rose to 12.

Over the month, the biggest winners were software testers and enterprise resource planners, who saw vacancies in their fields rise by 24 and 14 per cent respectively.

In total, the single biggest market was for software engineers, who could choose from 6,655 contract opportunities around the UK. Web developers took second place but still paled in comparison, with a total of nearly 4,000 vacancies.

Unsurprisingly, London and the south-east continue to dominate the market, accounting for 53 per cent of the IT jobs market as a whole. In some sectors, this hold is even tighter - for business intelligence and technical architect roles, more than 40 per cent  of all opportunities were concentrated in the capital alone.

Still, the regions do look healthier than they did a year ago, with all of them reporting growth in either contract or permanent vacancies or both. Software testers enjoyed a spike in demand in the east and south-west of England as well as Yorkshire and Humberside, while web developers performed well in every region with the exception of the east. Business analysts, meanwhile, saw new opportunities become available in the north-west, while technical support performed better than usual in the East Midlands.

The permanent market performed well with an eight per cent annual rise, despite a month-on-month decline of 5.73 per cent. Still, Computer People point out that this is less than half of the 18.17 per cent annual expansion of the market as a whole.

By Victoria McDonnell

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