PAYE umbrella freelancers specialising in IT contracting look set for a bumper year as demand for their skills soars and IT spending rises.  That is according to two new reports – one from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) and the other from industry analyst In-Stat.

Commenting on the APSCo research, the organisation’s Chief Executive Ann Swain said that in certain areas of the IT industry, shortages in the IT skills market were becoming widespread.  The deficit has led to burgeoning demand for highly skilled IT specialists and a surge in pay rates – the essential ingredients of a bidding war.

Candidates with highly sought-after niche skills are receiving multiple job offers; according to Ms Swain, “double digit pay increases are now commonplace.”

IT spending had dropped during the recession, Swain observed, but is now seen as the key to competitive advantage.  “IT directors are increasingly keen to push the button on projects which will deliver significant productivity gains,” she added.

Her comments are borne out by In-Stat’s findings, which forecasts that enterprises will increase spending on IT services by six per cent during 2011, despite the still-uncertain conditions in the global economy.  The report identifies wireline data, VoIP, and cloud computing as the areas likely to expand.

In-Stat analyst Greg Potter said positive growth will be seen in all areas of IT, “with education and healthcare and social services leading the surge with growth of ten per cent and nine per cent respectively”.  The only area likely to see a small decline, he said, will be wireline voice, which will probably see spending fall by half a per cent.

Umbrella companies with IT professionals on their books, it seems, are about to get very, very busy.

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