It may be a little on the volatile side on these shores, but in Europe the IT skills market is thriving; with demand for IT contracting hitting a 34-year high.

So say IT recruiters from global giant Volt, as reported by ContractorUK. Temporary billings for IT contractors are now at their highest point since Volt began supplying IT workers in 1978. There has been a strong upturn in the availability of new IT contracts, chiefly in France, Germany and Switzerland, which contrasts favourably with the peaks and troughs characteristic of the UK’s IT jobs market at present.

Firms on the continent appear keen to maintain their cutting-edge reputation for IT and are increasingly willing to extend freelancers’ contracts. Some have renewed contracts repeatedly to secure on-going input from the IT freelancers they value. Much of the growth in temporary IT billings, the company said, is being driven by clients “involved in financial transactions”, which includes the insurance market in London.

Pay-rates, however, have remained fairly static for contractors and permies alike. Even so, demand for front-end website development skills (especially Ruby on Rails) and Business Intelligence are at the top of the European wish list and remain strong.

Volt spokesman Sebastien Cobut acknowledged that the UK IT contract market is currently performing less well, as evidenced by the REC’s data indicating that it is fluctuating below real growth levels; however, Mr Cobut pointed out, “demand across Europe should pick up as clients return from the traditional summer break, and companies’ routines are re-established after the euphoria of the London 2012 Olympics.”

If this transpires, then jobbing PAYE umbrella techies from the UK are likely to be amongst the beneficiaries, wherever they want to work in Europe.

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