The cut, the largest single rate cut imposed on IT contractors by an employer to date, will shave millions of pounds from the bank's annual wages bill. It is likely to inspire similar cuts by other employers in the financial services sector.
Barclays has told IT staff that it needs to make savings in order to meet its long-standing target of reducing costs across the Barclays group by £1bn by 2003.
The cutbacks will apply to all contractors, including programme managers, testing staff and developers, irrespective of their skills.
The bank said it was confident that temporary staff with specialist skills would not seek better-paid jobs elsewhere. "We hope that all contractors will remain contractors. We are not looking to reduce the number of contractors," a spokesman said.
The cutbacks reflect three years of declining IT employment and growing competition in the jobs market.
"Contractors have been experiencing rate cuts for some time," said a spokesman for the Professional Contractors Group. "Sadly we are experiencing a difficult time in the IT market. It is not helped by the Government's actions on IR35 and visa relaxations. It is evidence that there is no skills shortage."