The number of jobs for contractors in September was 13% lower than the same month a year ago and IT contractors are seeing opportunities fall more than other sectors, as IT projects are put on hold as the UK braces itself for a double dip recession.
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The latest figures from Staffing Industry Analysts and Innovantage, which were produced on behalf of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), revealed that contractors in the banking and finance sector were hit hardest, closely followed by IT contactors where 14,175 jobs were advertised compared to 19,328, representing a 27% fall.
Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo, said: “Contractors are always the first into and the first out of a downturn. Employers tend to cut back on contingent workers before they slice into their permanent workforce, so with joblessness rising again, we would expect contractors to be bearing a disproportionate number of those job losses.”
She says IT contractors have been hit by stalling IT project plans. “IT projects, particularly if they are not expected to deliver an immediate return on investment, can temporarily be put on ice and thawed out again once the outlook improves. In some cases, projects have been put into the deep freeze, allowing a reduction in contractor numbers.”
John Nurthen of Staffing Industry Analysts said there are however pockets of demand. “Contractors are a flexible resource, a tap that can be turned on and off very quickly. Right now, many banks are turning the tap towards the ‘off’ position, though in some niche areas, such as compliance and risk, there is still significant demand.”
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