Faster-growing IT contractor jobs market ‘reset’ in February

Luna Ruth

Growth in demand for IT contractors rebounded in February, amid recruiters talking of opportunities ‘resetting’ themselves from the Christmas switch-off.

Versus 66.2 in December, and 66.1 in January, the demand for tech skills on a temporary basis in February grew even more to 66.5 – more analogous to November (67.2).

Neil Carberry of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, which publishes the IT contractor index scores in Report on Jobs, explained before the report’s release on Tuesday:  


“[Approximately] 224,000 new job postings in the last full week of February…[represents] the highest weekly total since early December.

“[So we’ve seen] a robust trend in jobs adverts over the past few weeks. Active postings always reset, as jobs fall away over Christmas,” he said.

Writing in Report on Jobs, Claire Warnes of KPMG said: “Employers across all sectors continued to hire energetically during February, as their workloads increased and vacancy growth accelerated for the first time since last summer.”

‘Vacancies coming out my ears’

Although not hiring solely for the technology sector, an executive head-hunter echoed online: “I have vacancies coming out of my ears!

“[But] today my advice [to a candidate] was STAY PUT. Not everyone needs to move [especially those who work] for a well-reputed, successful, forward-thinking, cutting edge, fair, business.”

Switching jobs or moving to a new opportunity due to near-perfect conditions was the advice from the REC’s Mr Carberry back in August.

‘Remarkably tight’

But now, with “things remarkably tight” his advice is to government. “At a time when firms and workers are hard-pressed by inflation, making sure businesses can invest in wages and training matters.”

The REC’s CEO, Mr Carberry continued: “Government can help by working with business to support people back into the labour market and address skills gaps. [But] ramping up National Insurance is not the right way to go.”

In Report on Jobs, Ms Warnes echoed: “A sustained focus on skills shortages is required if all sectors of the economy are to leave winter behind and head into spring with confidence in the jobs market.”

‘Further increases in starting pay’

Head of education, skills and productivity at KMPG, Ms Warnes was partly referring to the availability of candidates dropping continuously for almost a year, which she said was leading to “further increases” in starting pay.

In the technology sector, the lack of candidates is most marked for Analysts, Automation Testers, Software Engineers, Technical Sales, Developers, and those offering general IT, Technology, and Digital skills.

Also in “short supply” in February, but unlike the eight by not being spread across both the perm and contract markets , were candidates skilled in CAD, Infrastructure Analysis and Software, albeit just for full-time positions.

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