The prevailing economic climate may be about as uplifting as a heavy head cold but the UK’s IT contracting community has good reason to be cheerful: a new survey from the online freelance jobs market Elance reveals that demand for its services leapt by 14% in the first quarter of 2012.

PAYE umbrella contractors specialising in the corner of the IT skills market concerned with mobile platforms did especially well, with demand for app developers and experts in mobile data and networks enjoying particularly strong demand. Demand for Android developers was especially spectacular, positively soaring by 35%.

Suneeta Johal, the PCG’s research and information manager, believes the findings showcase the talents and flexibility of the UK’s contractor community. She said: “This data shows that ‘staying ahead of the game’ is crucial to capitalising on areas of growth and this is an area where IT freelancers are particularly strong. Their livelihood often depends on them being at the forefront of technological innovation and these findings suggest businesses beginning to take advantage of this.”

The survey suggests a welcome trend for contractors: more large organisations are turning to IT contractors for work they would once have appointed permanent staff to do, which is a trend that Ms Johal considers very encouraging. She added that these firms would hopefully find “that the advantages of tapping into a flexible, expert resource in this way are not confined to when times are bad.”

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