Demand for IT contractors dampened slightly during September, according to the latest Report on Jobs by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG.

The monthly IT outlook for the flexible workforce showed that demand was scored at 58.6 last month, slightly down from the 58.7 figure recorded in August and representing the sixth successive month in which growth has fallen.

Industry experts had expected demand to rise during September as senior stakeholders, hiring managers and candidates returned from holiday following the traditional summer lull; however, this did not materialise.

The REC/KPMG report scored demand for temporary technology workers at the lowest it has been since the second quarter of 2013; however, on a brighter note, demand for freelance IT skills remains high, with a score above 50 seen as a positive.

Hourly pay rates for contractors, freelancers and other self-employed individuals in the IT sector and other industries also grew in September, although at the weakest rate since spring last year.

The list of IT skills that are highly sought-after by employers is increasing, with AV, C#, Java, Digital and PHP heading the ‘scarce’ list for contractors, while there are also AV, C# and Java skills gaps among full-time positions.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said: “As politicians make their big pitches to workers and to business at the party conferences, the UK jobs market is entering a new phase.”

He continued: “Talent shortages are making it increasingly difficult for employers to find quality candidates. This is now at a critical stage in the construction and engineering sectors, constituting a major threat to planned rail upgrades and housebuilding projects.”

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