The public sector is now the biggest employer of freelance IT staff in the UK, employing over one-in-four of all contractors, but it may not be able to keep the best talent.
According to research from contractor services company Giant, the government has more than doubled its use of freelance IT consultants over the last two years.
Giant’s survey of 2,500 contractors found that 27% now work in the public sector.
Closely behind the public sector in the use of freelancers is the financial services sector, with 24% of freelance contractors. The telecoms sector now only employs 12% of contractors, compared to the 21% it employed in 2003.
Giant managing director Matthew Brown said, “The public sector has always been the poor relation in terms of its use of temporary IT staff, but efficiency drives and increased scrutiny of major IT projects have persuaded civil servants of the necessity of bringing in private sector expertise.”
Brown warned however, that the City was now ramping up its hiring of freelancers to cope with big mergers and acquisitions, and greater compliance needs, so the public sector could lose out in a bidding war for the best staff.
He added that new networking technologies including voice over IP and 3G mobile could once again drive up demand for freelancers in the telecoms sector.
Read more on IT risk management
Looming threat of Covid-19 and IR35 reform conspire to keep contractor confidence dampened
IR35 reforms subject to pre-Budget inquiry as self-employed hit by crisis of confidence
IR35 private sector reforms: BP contractors notified of incoming ban on PSCs
New government faces calls to urgently deliver on pre-election pledge to review IR35 reforms