IT Contractor Hiring Rates Increase According To Powerchex

Key Figures from the Powerchex report:

  • IT contractor employment offers increased by 320% from May to June
  • Investment bank recruitment increased by 45% from May to June
  • Total industry offers rose 52% for the month compared to the same period in 2009
  • Stockbroker offers were down 12% on the previous month
  • Insurance offers were down 4% on the previous month
  • Hedge fund recruitment slowed from May to June growing only 16%
  • Investment banks job offers increased 125% compared to the same period in 2009
  • Stockbroker offers were down 26% on June of last year

Alexandra Kelly, MD of Powerchex, said that “Fears of a double-dip recession are beginning to dissipate. Recruitment in the financial sector has generally flattened in the last quarter, but IT contractor hiring shows signs of another round of optimism in Investment banking this summer. The financial industry was preserving liquidity and waiting to see what changes would occur as a result of the general election and possibly tighter regulations in the new budget. But the surge in IT contactors shows the sector has released the build-up that had been waiting on the back burner until government news was certain. This trend echoes the new, national employment figures that show the recovery is getting back on track.”

Recent Job Market Figures from the Office of National Statistics

  • The employment rate for the three months to May 2010 was 72.3 %, up 0.3 on the quarter
  • The number of people in employment increased by 160,000 on the quarter to reach 28.98 million
  • The quarterly increase in total employment was mainly driven by part-time employees, which increased by 117,000 on the quarter to reach 6.63 million, and self-employment, which rose by 59,000 on the quarter to reach 3.93 million
  • The number of full-time employees fell by 22,000 on the quarter to reach 18.20 million
  • The unemployment rate for the three months to May 2010 was 7.8 per cent, down 0.1 on the quarter
  • The number of unemployed people fell by 34,000 over the quarter to reach 2.47 million
  • The number of people unemployed for up to six months fell by 54,000, to reach 1.16 million
  • The number of vacancies for the three months to June 2010 was 486,000, up 10,000 over the quarter
  • The sector showing the largest quarterly increase was wholesaling, retailing and motor vehicle repairs, where the number of vacancies increased by 11,000 on the quarter to reach 95,000
  • The earnings annual growth rate for total pay (including bonuses) was 2.7 per cent for the three months to May 2010, down from 4.1 per cent for the three months to April

Although the unemployment rate for the UK fell by 34,000 for the three months to May 2010 the news will not be enough to eliminate the concern that many hold in the business and contracting communities that the UK may be headed for tougher times, and the possibility of a double dip recession. With a raft of measures announced to cut public sector expenditure in the Emergency Budget many fear that the muted recovery in the private sector will not be enough to offset significant public sector job losses.

The news will be of no comfort to highly skilled IT Contractors who are presently enjoying the return of well paying contracts following the economic downturn. The recession caused many businesses to reassess their IT needs, with many deferring projects until a later date or cancelling them altogether. News of tougher times will undoubtedly prompt many CIOs to look at project deferral measures once more, meaning that tougher times could be ahead for contractors in 3-6 months time. Recently Gartner, the worlds leading Information Technology research and advisory company, outlined steps that Chief Information Officers (CIOs) should take to safeguard their business in the face of a second economic downturn.

The Director of the Institute for Employment Studies, Nigel Meager, said that “There are some encouraging signs of stronger labour market demand in this month\’s figures, with unemployment down by 34,000, and employment growing by 160,000. Vacancies have also risen again, though they remain well below pre-recession levels. However urgent policy action is needed to support the long term unemployed back into work to avoid the damaging long-term social impacts experienced in previous recessions. Official figures are yet to register a major downturn in public sector employment, but this will inevitably follow… it is unlikely that the real, but muted recovery in the private sector will be sufficient to offset significant public sector job loss.\”

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