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UK - IT contractors predict job boom in financial services

09 August 2011

IT contractors are increasingly confident about their job prospects in the financial services sector over the coming year as banks and insurers step up demand for IT skills, according to new research by giant group plc, the contractor services provider.
32.6% of IT contractors think the financial services sector will create the most IT jobs over the next 12 months, compared with 27.5% this time last year.
At the same time, however, confidence in the public sector has fallen to an all-time low. Just 8.9% of IT contractors expect the public sector to create the most jobs over the next 12 months compared with 16.9% in Q2 2010 and 29.6% in Q2 2008.

According to the latest research from Ovum, IT spending by European retail banks will reach $40.1 billion in the next five years, an increase of +19%.

Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant, commented "banks pulled the plug on a lot of IT projects during the recession, but are now ramping up spending again as they play catch-up. In areas where banks expect to make significant productivity gains, such as cloud computing, demand for IT skills has risen sharply."

"Banks are also under intense regulatory pressure to improve their risk monitoring processes and ensure that their transactions are more transparent, which is spurring a huge investment in IT."
The research also shows that long-term joblessness among IT contractors has also continued to decline, with just 9.5% of IT contractors spending 90 days or more out of work, down from 10.9% this time last year.
In another sign of good health for the IT sector, a higher proportion of contractors are opting for higher hourly pay over long term contracts. 37.2% now prioritise higher hourly pay, compared to 34.8% asked in Q2 last year. The majority of IT contractors (62.8%) would still prefer a longer term contract, however.
Brown said "there is certainly a growing confidence about the jobs market, with many contractors now able to prioritise pay over job security. However, given the uncertain climate, it is not surprising that the majority of contractors still have an eye on job security and are therefore favouring longer term contracts over higher hourly pay."
Confidence in public sector at an all-time low 
The collapse in confidence in the public sector's ability to create IT jobs reflects cuts to budgets announced at last October's Spending Review.
Many public sectors IT projects, such as the national ID card scheme, have been scrapped, and with the Government still wielding the axe, job opportunities for IT contractors are expected to be scarce for the time being.
Brown commented "a lot of projects that would have created opportunities for IT contractors have been put on hold indefinitely, or even axed altogether."
"The public sector is likely to remain under pressure to keep permanent (as well as contractor) headcounts down for some time, which may mean that more opportunities arise in the medium term (for contractors) as spikes in workload dictate."


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