IT pros contracting through Umbrella Companies or other freelance vehicles are enjoying better pay rates as the economy slowly clambers out of recession, a new report from a major international consulting company has found.

The UK edition of Pierre Audoin Consultants’ (PAC) IT Services Rates Database is based on interviews regarding the average daily pay rates of 150 IT companies and IT users. The PAC database has been monitoring pay rates for the last decade in Germany, France and the UK.

The overall conclusion is that UK firms are slowly increasing their daily rates for IT contractors as the economy begins to move out of recession, but that the increases are “patchy”. A senior analyst at PAC, Dominic Trott, explained: “We expect a short-term boost in rates due to the high demand in cloud-related skills, but in the medium term we’ll see commoditisation of testing and application management roles as these functions migrate to the cloud.”

Mr Trott anticipates that while these cloud-related skills will temporarily attract higher pay rates, in the longer term there will be more sustained demand for management and senior consultancy roles. The database reveals that, of all the job levels covered, consultancy commands the highest average rates.

Project management, however, emerges as the role with the highest absolute rate, and it is also the category with the widest spread of rates.

On the basis of trends found between 2012 and 2013, PAC predicts that IT contractor rates will continue to increase into 2014, with financial services roles having the greatest potential for pay growth. In contrast, public sector rates are likely to decline.

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