The growth in demand for IT contractors sunk to a 26-month low according to the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s latest Report on Jobs. IT contractor demand scored 58.7 last month, which is the lowest figure since summer 2013.

It is also the fifth successive month that the IT contractor index has fallen, despite the fact that demand for talented flexible workers in the industry is still positive. The seasonal slowdown is partly to blame with the report noting that many candidates have ‘shelved plans’ until September.

However, the monthly score is generated by hirers and recruiters, which also suggests that these parties also shut down for a period during the summer months. REC believes the latest drop in demand is the beginning of a long-term shift towards slower rates of growth that will be felt for the next two years.

REC chief executive, Kevin Green, explained: “The UK jobs market is entering a new phase. Because of the scarcity of talent available, we expect that employment will continue to grow but at a slower speed than we have seen over the past two years. Likewise, unemployment is likely to slow its rate of descent as we move closer to full employment.”

Green also believes that end-users will now focus on retaining their staff to tackle skills shortages, though those that are looking to attract new talent will have to do more to source the most experienced contractors. Java contractors are amongst the most sought after due to their scarcity during August.

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