IT contractors are becoming increasingly confident about opportunities in the financial services sector as banks and insurance firms step up their IT spending, according to research from contractor service provider Giant Group.
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The finance sector is increasingly important to UK IT contractors as public sector opportunities dry up.
Research carried out by Giant Group found that 33% of IT contractors think the financial services sector will create the most IT jobs over the next 12 months, compared to 8% that felt this way a year ago. Meanwhile only 9% of respondents think the public sector will create the most opportunities compared to 17% in the same period last year and 30% in 2008.
Matthew Brown, managing director of Giant, expects cloud computing skills and experience to be in demand.
"Banks pulled the plug on a lot of IT projects during the recession, but are now ramping up spending again as they play catch-up," he said.
"In areas where banks expect to make significant productivity gains, such as cloud computing, demand for IT skills has risen sharply."
He said the need to meet new regulations which will make banks more transparent is also driving demand for IT staff.
The research found that long-term joblessness declined with just 9.5% of IT contractors spending 90 days or more out of work compared to 11% this time last year.
IT contractors had a tough time during the financial turmoil. For example in June 2009 an e-mail sent to IT contractors by Lloyds Banking Group, and leaked to Computer Weekly, revealed that their pay was being cut by 15%. The bank told contractors to accept the offer or leave.
One recipient of the letter said, "All attempts to negotiate around the imposition of the cut were met with, 'Take it or leave the bank on notice'."