IT workers turn down permanent jobs

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Firms struggling to recruit permanent staff as IT professionals turn to contract work for better pay.

According to industry experts, a growing number of IT professionals are favouring contract work over permanent employment because of the better pay on offer.

But this trend could possibly hamper IT and business alignment, they warn.

European IT recruitment firm Parity places IT professionals in both contract and permanent work but finds employers often opt out of hiring permanent staff because they cannot meet pay demands.

“All the big blue chips are looking for permanent staff but they can’t match the salary job hunters are asking for, so in the end they have to go with the contractor option where firms have more flexibility in what they can pay,” said Simon Page, Parity Resources director of permanent recruitment.

Page said he had even noticed the trend in the public sector, which normally tends to be relatively recession-proof.

He has recently worked with one high-profile public sector body to help increase the proportion of permanent employees from 30 per cent to 70 per cent of all IT staff.

“Another public sector body holds open days for women to test out its IT department for a day in order to encourage women into permanent IT roles,” said Page.

Women often opt for contract work over permanent roles because it enables them to get paid a more equal salary to men, he added.

Michael Bennett, director of recruitment consultant ReThink Recruitment, said, “A downturn in the amount of permanent staff employers hire is to be expected with the current economic climate.”

But he warned that because temporary contract staff tend to be less incorporated into a business, an influx of contractors will not aid firms’ efforts to align IT operations with business goals.

Bennett said most IT managers should recognise the potential problems caused by an overdose of contractors. “Permanent staff are needed in bad economic times to construct cost-saving IT projects for the business,” he argued.

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