Govt's digital commitment driving IT opportunities

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Opportunities for IT contractors in the public sector are increasing, according to new research from Procorre.

This is thanks to the government's commitment to its 'digital by default' policy, which is serving to drum up demand for highly-skilled professionals. Indeed, public sector IT jobs now account for 11 per cent of all consultancy roles - a massive step up from 2012 when just five per cent of IT vacancies were created by central and local government,

Lisa Mangan, relationship manager at Procorre, said: "The recovery in IT jobs in the public sector demonstrates how critically important IT is in delivering public services.

"The digital by default strategy that the government has set out will require more IT consultants working on government contracts, so it is good news for contractors, particularly those who have the right skills and know how to gain access to the most attractive roles."

While public sector jobs have yet to hit their pre-general election level of 30 per cent, vacancies are certainly on an upwards trajectory.

This will serve to create a healthier balance between the public and private sector in terms of skills.

The government has certainly been working to open up the sector and in January announced a series of "red lines" to make it easier for small businesses to tender for public contracts.

A series of hard and fast rules to prevent a small few from having the monopoly on opportunities, the red lines are designed to ensure the maximum taxpayer value is extracted from services.

Cabinet office minister Francis Maude believes that this will not only create greater competition but free the government from longstanding inflexible contracts with IT providers.

However, the public sector will still have to contend with strong demand from private businesses, which often have the edge when it comes to pay.

The financial services industry is just one area where the need for IT contractors is increasing.

According to the Confederation of British Industry and PwC's 'Financial Services Survey', over the next 12 months, IT will be the top capital investment, especially among investment management firms, securities trading companies and insurance brokers.

Kevin Burrows, financial services leader at PwC, said: "Banks need to adopt bold new strategies as they face challenges around regaining trust, legacy issues, regulation and technology.

"Digital must be at the heart of their business as new entrants such as challenger banks, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding all have one thing in common – digital platforms which make the most out of big data and really focus on customer needs."

With demand now coming from both sides, it's a great time to be an IT contractor. Indeed, evidence suggests that employers are now getting wise to the benefits of flexible labour.

Ms Mangan explained that by drawing on the expertise of IT consultants, the public sector can enjoy greater flexibility when delivering a project. It is expected that this will be a growing trend in the future among employers.


By Victoria McDonnell

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