A somewhat confusing picture has emerged for the jobbing PAYE umbrella techie specialising in the financial IT skills market, according to two recent reports.

Morgan McKinley’s latest London Employment Monitor suggests that, while financial jobs in the City fell by 2% overall in July, specialists in IT contracting did not do at all badly, bucking the downward trend with a small upturn.

Morgan McKinley Financial Services’ chief operating officer, Andrew Evans, said: “During the summer months we typically see the entire recruitment market slow down with fewer jobs being released and job seeker numbers declining. With the UK remaining in recession throughout Q2, we wouldn’t expect this pattern to change; however, a 2% drop could be viewed as a stabilisation in the market all things considered. Looking back to last year, we saw financial services job opportunities fall month-on-month at this time by 10%.”

The latest quarterly report from the JM Group, however, paints a somewhat gloomier picture: demand for IT contractors in the investment banking sector dissipated in Q2 2012, with pay rates, client flexibility and contract availability all tailing off. The report suggests that the sector has been affected by the ongoing eurozone crisis during April and June, culminating a 20% decrease in contractor hiring compared with the same time in 2010.

Contracts are still becoming available, but in “bursts of activity” rather than as a steady flow, and pay rates are down on average by 10%. Clearly, flexible umbrella employees are often able to get to the available opportunities very quickly, and secure contracts with medium term income while waiting for the market to improve.

The most sought after skills in the sector were identified by the recruiter as Risk, FX, Architects, Equity Finance, Commodities and Digital. The latter includes mobile/tablet skills, user experience and developers.

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