Technical giant Hewlett Packard have announced 934 job cuts across their UK bases. The company currently employs 16,500. The union Unite, which condemned the news, has predicted a further 1000 job losses over the next 9 months.

Unite national officer for IT and communications, Peter Skyte, commented: “This is a further cull by Hewlett Packard of its skilled and experienced UK workforce, and follows nearly 4,000 jobs being cut over the past few years.”

Speaking to Contractor UK, a spokesperson for Hewlett Packard commented: “Hewlett Packard is in consultation with the appropriate representative bodies within the UK regarding potential workforce changes that were first discussed with the Hewlett Packard European Works Council in November 2009 and have been part of an ongoing consultation process since then.

The spokesperson continued: “The changes Hewlett Packard is proposing are part of the company’s ongoing review of its business that will ensure Hewlett Packard continues to grow in a globally competitive marketplace and deliver world class products and services to its customers.”

It seems that while this is bad news for permanent staff, it is positive for skilled IT contractors as more and more technical firms seem to be favouring the benefits of a temporary workforce.

This was a view backed up by the director of Arrows Group, Adrian Treacy, who told Contractor UK: “Many technology companies choose to retain temps and contractors over permanent staff so that they have a more flexible workforce. There are peaks and troughs in the IT sector – when developing and launching a new product, organisations will need a large workforce to service this level of activity, but then there will be periods of downtime where far less people are required. Temporary staff can be a great solution – companies have the input of skills when and where they need them but do not have to pay salaries, pensions and other benefits when business is quiet.

Mr Treacy concluded: “Recruiting contractors is also the ideal way to get access to very niche skills, which are impossible to teach a permanent employee in a short period of time – there are many freelance IT professionals whose careers are focused on plugging their niche skill set into a series of short-term projects and who can therefore provide invaluable input.”

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