IT contractors seek job security

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IT contractors seek job security

IT contractors are placing their hopes on the public sector for more stable work opportunities, according to research.

Some 30 per cent of freelancers polled during the first quarter of 2009 by contractor services provider Giant Group thought they would be able to find work in government-led projects.

Five years ago, 24 per cent of the survey’s respondents expected to get their next contract in the financial services sector – that figure has now dropped to 15 per cent.

“Demand for workers in the public sector is usually much less volatile during a recession than the private sector,” said Giant managing director Matthew Brown.

“Despite the risk that funding for public sector IT projects may be adversely affected by the Budget, for the short term at least projects are likely to continue as planned, as funding for them has already been earmarked,” he said.

Another change over the last five years highlighted in the survey is contractors’ increased preference for long-term contracts over higher hourly pay.

Currently, 62 per cent of freelance workers prefer longer engagements to better rates, as opposed to 56 per cent at the end of 2003.

Unemployment among IT contractors during the current recession is only half of what it was following the burst of the dot com bubble, according to the study – currently, 7.5 per cent of IT contractors have been out of work for 90 days or more, in comparison to the 13 per cent of freelancers unemployed over the same period of time at the end of 2003.

But there is still a lot of uncertainty around contract work, said Brown.

“Research suggests that IT spending is unlikely to be as negatively impacted by the downturn as spending in other business areas, but with rates in some sectors having been cut, contractors are clearly still concerned about job security and whether we are at the bottom or the market still has some way to fall,” he said.
Copyright © 2010 Computing

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