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IT contractors in financial services upbeat despite downturn

Antony Savvas

IT contractors are not expecting a cull in the financial services sector despite the economic slowdown.

According to research from contractor services provider giant group, IT contractors believe that any job cuts in the financial services sector over the next 12 months will not come close to the levels of those in 2001, the last downturn.

The research shows that the proportion of IT contractors expecting the best job opportunities in the financial services sector has fallen only slightly over the last 12 months, from 26% of all contractors to 24%.

Contractors are still most confident of job creation in the financial services sector compared with other sectors of the economy.

Financial organisations have managed their IT skills much more efficiently since the last downturn, according to giant group, "leaving less fat to trim this time around", so the expectation of mass lay-offs is more subdued.

Matthew Brown, managing director of giant group, said, "The financial services sector in the UK is one of the most important users of IT skills, and there is no sign of panic among contractors. Few are expecting a repeat of the mass bloodletting we saw in the 2001/02 downturn.

"Organisations have been much more restrained in their hiring post-dotcom boom and crash, and have offshored a lot of their skills base since then, so the UK contractor resources they currently have are leaner and less susceptible to cost cutting."

He said there is often robust demand for contractors during challenging economic conditions as organisations put off hiring permanent IT staff.

He added, "Some IT projects that will not yield a short-term return on investment are being given a lower priority, but the market hasn't fallen off a cliff by any means."

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