Skillfair have conducted a survey amongst 40,000 independent professionals and have found that their daily fees have fallen by around eight per cent. The data collected shows that in 2008 the average daily fee charged by freelance consultants was £565 but by 2009 this had dropped to £523. Contractors who have experienced the highest pay cuts primarily worked in change management, IT management, telecoms and engineering.

Analysing these figures, Skillfair believe that is shows clients are “still prepared to pay realistic rates” for skilled freelancers. However, they also believe there could be a further explanation for the average drop in rates as many consultants are now working through agencies thus resulting in an average drop in take-home pay of fifteen per cent. Of course, the main reason believed to be behind the drop in rates is the fragile economy which has been responsible for “a lot of consultants…asked to work for derisory rates.”

This is the view of Gill Hunt, Skillfair founder, who spoke to Contractor UK. She said: “Interestingly, they’re quite comfortable with this if the client is in genuine need – but much less happy if they think [it is solely due to] an agency protecting their margins by passing on all the pressure.”

The Skillfair survey also revealed that ninety per cent of contractors expect that pay rates throughout 2010 will either increase or stay the same.

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