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UK – IT professionals keen on contract jobs, Hays finds

02 May 2012

The IT sector is weathering the economic climate while employers are facing competition for professionals with the vast majority of permanent employees (73%) currently looking to move jobs, an employment survey by Hays shows.

Particularly the contract market is an attractive option to IT professionals with only 6% considering moving into a permanent position as their next career move. 56% said they would take a gap of eight weeks between contract roles before they considered a permanent position. While half of contractors were only willing to consider contracts of three months or more, the current market has made 24% more willing to accept shorter contracts and 67% would accept or consider a drop in pay rate to secure their next contract.

“Despite the continued need for contract staff, the results raise some concerns for employers looking to hire permanently over the next twelve months. Many IT professionals will be looking to take advantage of the higher day rates found in contract roles and are comfortable in the knowledge that they are unlikely to experience long spells without a contract.  In recent times, employers have had very high expectations of permanent candidates, looking for those that meet all of their criteria, but as more IT professionals switch to better paid contract roles they may struggle to find people to fill permanent positions if they aren't more flexible,” said James Aldridge, Director  at Hays Information Technology.

The survey also showed that almost 60% of respondents in permanent posts were optimistic, saying the recession had not affected their career in the long term. But over half (57%) did not receive a bonus in the last 12 months, and only a lucky few (15%) were given bonuses of 15% or more of their salary. 

While 54% of IT professionals in full-time employment had seen a pay rise, many felt overworked. Nearly two thirds (61%) saw an increase in workloads in the last 12 month and many are concerned about their future prospects. Around 60%complained their current organisation does not offer any career progression opportunities, even though 61% said they received training support.

 “Demand remains high for the best IT professionals, but some employers in the IT sector are showing a worrying complacency towards their employees, as our findings highlight that 61% of employees anticipate moving jobs within one year,” Mr Aldrige added.  

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