A survey of 1,200 IT contractors by staffing firm Volt Europe found that the most important factors cited by contractors in choosing work were pay, location, length of contract and the opportunity to learn new skills.
The report comes after three years of economic downturn during which time many firms have cut back on their use of IT contractors in a bid to cut costs.
Of the contractors surveyed, only 17% had managed to work full-time over the past two years and 7% had not been able to find any work at all.
Most IT contractors had also seen their pay fall sharply. About 40% saw their earnings fall by 30% or more while only 16% saw their earnings rise.
"Given that some contractors have not worked for up to 24 months, it is quite staggering that they want to stay with contracting and not work full-time," said Liz Crotty, group communications manager for Volt Europe.
"I guess it is the combination of being able to earn more money and having the freedom to move where and when they want."
Despite vocal opposition to IR35, only 43% of contractors attributed a drop in earnings directly to the tax rule, which aims to stop IT contractors from operating as "disguised employees".