Demand for IT contractors bucks trend outside capital

The demand for both permanent and contract IT workers has increased outside London and the South East, despite a nationwide drop in the number of IT vacancies, according to recruiters.

The demand for both permanent and contract IT workers has increased outside London and the South East, despite a nationwide drop in the number of IT vacancies, according to recruiters.

The latest SSL/Computer Weekly Survey of Appointments Data and Trends found that the number of vacancies advertised for IT contractors fell by 12.7% between the first and second quarters of this year (Computer Weekly, 1 August).

The drop coincides with the completion of several major projects in the City, including Voca’s new payments system and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance projects.
However, aerospace companies in the South West, such as Honeywell and Rolls-Royce, are using greater numbers of skilled people to work on their products than they did a year ago.

The market for jobs and contracts in the North West has grown, even though one of the biggest projects in the region – a data migration at Littlewoods – has finished.
 
The region’s largest users of IT, such as services company EDS, which runs its contract for the Department for Work and Pensions from a centre outside Blackpool, as well as Unilever, have also increased the number of IT professionals that they use over the past year.

“Contractors now have a lot more choice [in the North West] than they did have. We are taking people out of roles to put them into new ones,” said Andy Gardner, contracts business manager at Reed Personnel Services in Manchester.

Gardner said organisations were waiting longer for new contractors to start work than they had done in the past.

Public sector projects, such as the introduction of self-service portals at several Greater Manchester councils, have also increased demand.

The region’s biggest companies have made SAP skills the most highly remunerated. Gardner said, “We could do with more SAP candidates. A lot of them are contracting at £400 a day, with functional consultants earning up to £700 a day.”
In the South West of England, aerospace and defence companies want different skills.

People with software engineering, radio frequency, C++, Unified Modelling Language and integrated logistic support skills are all in demand, according to recruitment firms.

Martin O’Boyle, permanent division manager at Capital International HR Solutions, said, “We have huge demand for people [in the South West], but a lot of clients are struggling to get the level of skill they require in a permanent capacity so they are increasingly going for contractors.”

 

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