UK leading way for IT contractors

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Research has shown that there is strong demand for IT contractors in the UK, suggesting that specialists in this area are likely to have a positive year.

An international study has shown that this level of demand is far more positive in Britain, compared to other leading regions. 

Conducted by IT resourcing specialist Experis, the research found that more than three-quarters (76 per cent) of businesses across the country use IT contractors. This is significantly higher than the international average.

The Experis’ Tech Cities Job Watch report, which surveyed executives who were responsible for hiring IT employees across ten countries, suggested that this is an ongoing trend. According to the study, over the course of 2015 the number of contract roles being offered in the UK rose by ten per cent, compared to the start of the year.

It found that, although this is an international trend, the UK is leading the rest of the world, having more contractors than some of the world's strongest markets.

Geoff Smith, managing director at Experis Europe, said the gap between demand and available talent "continues to widen", with contractors often being the go-to solution. He said many businesses are seeing these specialists as a way to solve their problems, rather than just a temporary fix.

Mr Smith explained further: "Alongside this, they are recognising that the use of contractors can bring greater cost savings in the long term and flexible workflow options, which will be vital in 2016 and beyond.”

In comparison, other regions were significantly behind in terms of their demand for these specialists, with the US (66 per cent), Japan (65 per cent), and Germany (40 per cent) recording much lower figures in proportion. However, the report also showed that many regions have strong intentions to increase their hiring in this area. 

Nearly a fifth of respondents in the US (19 per cent) and Australia (17 per cent) said they had plans to increase their use of IT contractors in the future.

The strongest expected demand was seen in BRIC markets, with Brazil (39 per cent), India (50 per cent), and China (37 per cent), all forecasting an increase in this area.

Mr Smith said this new trend is often because IT departments are going through a period of "unprecedented change", with many perceptions being altered about the benefits of specialists in this area.

Many business leaders are now seeing that IT has the potential to be a strategic agent of change, rather than just an operational cost centre, he explained, with contractors being a well-established solution for a shortage in skills.

"An increase in the use of contractors plays a major part in this transformation as businesses demand higher levels of productivity and improved outcomes," Mr Smith concluded.

By Victoria McDonnell

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