IT contractors feel the pinch in downturn

Crunch causing large cuts to contractor role especially in key specific positions

Even though despite the credit-crunch permanent ICT vacancies are showing a slight upwards trend , advertisements for ICT contractors have slumped over the last quarter according to the latest e-skills Bulletin.

The latest quarterly guide to information about changes in the demand/supply of ICT labour and skills in the UK has revealed that in addition to a general 11% downturn in contractor appointments, worrying declines were observed for a number of specific roles. These include senior business analysts, management/systems consultants, senior database administrators/ analysts, senior PC support analysts and senior software engineers. Appointments in these roles were down by around one third or more.

Advertisements for contract positions requiring ISDN, OSI, Macromedia, Informix, Uniface, Active X, Foxpro, X25 or Frame Relay skills have experienced even bigger falls, in some cases disappearing.  

The e-skills Bulletin adds that the decline in the number of vacancies for programming has been a very noticeable for the last two years at least. It quotes  figures provided by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS)  which state that the number of software professionals working in the UK has been in decline for the last five consecutive quarters. In that period, the number of software professionals  fell from 335,000 in the final quarter of 2006 to 295,000 by the first quarter of 2008.

The survey also revealed that software professionals were also found to be one of the few groups of ICT staff experiencing reductions in average weekly earnings. Wages slipped by 1% to £660 per week in the first quarter of 2008 compared with Q107. During the same period of time, salaries for all ICT staff had risen by around 2%. conversely, during that time wages for  UK workers as a whole had risen by 4%.


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