The number of contractor vacancies advertised has jumped from 16,518 to 29,898, an increase of 81% between the first and third quarters of the year, the latest Computer Weekly/SSL Quarterly Survey of Appointments Data and Trends has revealed.
The demand is being driven by a 79% rise in vacancies since the second quarter of the year in the finance sector, which is investing heavily in systems to meet regulatory demands and to replace IT systems which were last updated for Y2K.
Demand for contractors from software houses and suppliers has risen by 43% since the second quarter, reflecting the continuing trend for businesses to outsource their IT systems.
Owen Williams, head of IT at property company Knight Frank, said that in recent months it had become harder to find permanent staff to fill vacancies. As a result, his company has been trying to plug gaps by hiring more contractors.
"We are under pressure to look at hiring more contractors because we have a high work demand and we are having difficulty recruiting permanent staff," said Williams.
Roger Marshall, IS director at the Corporation of London, said he was not surprised that demand is rocketing. "The industry is expanding again," he said.