IT contractors on alert as skills shortage deepens

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UK businesses could soon increase their reliance on contractors as they battle against the ongoing technology skills crisis.

The latest Report on Jobs survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) reveals that the permanent jobs market is twice as short of IT talent as its freelance counterpart.

This could see businesses turn to contractors as a way to plug the skills gap.

A total of ten IT skills were identified as being “scarce” for permanent vacancies, compared to just five for temporary assignments.

Expertise in areas such as Business Analysis, C++, Java, Sharepoint and SQL was the most sought-after among permanent opportunities – perhaps presenting a chance for contractors should businesses fail to secure the full-time talent they need.

Meanwhile, Digital, Linux and PHP were identified as hard-to-source skills among freelancers.

The report claimed that the phenomenon was likely to push up assignment rates, as firms compete to find the talent they need.

Bernard Brown, partner at survey co-author KPMG, said: "The declining pool of available labour continues to force pay up.

"With two in five recruiters in the UK reporting falling candidate availability, spiralling salary growth remains a concern as businesses bid against each other to secure skilled staff."

Meanwhile, the study also found that businesses’ appetite for IT contractors appears to be picking up again. Its index recorded a reading of 62.2 for April, compared to 61.6 in February and 61.7 in March.

Have your say

Are you an IT contractor? Have you noticed an increase in demand for your services? How do you think the skills shortage should be addressed? Join in the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below.