The health and buoyancy of the IT skills market was reflected yesterday in a new study from giant plc. According to the research, professionals in IT contracting are substantially more confident about their job prospects in financial services over the next twelve months than they had been at the same time last year. 37 per cent are now confident that financial services will generate the most IT jobs, compared with 22 per cent last year. IT professionals working for umbrella companies look set to enjoy a prosperous year.

Banks appear to be steeply increasing their investment in IT in the aftermath of the credit crunch, which giant’s Managing Director, Matthew Brown, interprets as further evidence that recovery in the private sector “is well and truly underway.” Banking now appears to be growing at the same rate it had achieved before the financial meltdown struck, and team leaders who had previously been instructed to let contractors go are once again hiring them.

It is the meltdown itself, ironically, which is driving the banking sector’s increased IT spend, according to Mr Brown. “There is now intense regulatory pressure on banks to ensure that risk monitoring is improved and that  transactions are as transparent as possible. This is spurring a “huge investment in IT,” he said.

Additional evidence of economic recovery was also yielded by the study, which shows that the number of contractors out of work for more than 90 days fell from 10 per cent in 2009 to 6.5 per cent in 2010.

By contrast with the outlook for the private sector, contractor confidence in the public sector as a provider of IT jobs has plummeted, collapsing from 25 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2009 to just 4.5 per cent now.

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