Although news has been circulating over the last couple of weeks that a number of big financial institutions have cut their pay rates for contractors in the IT skills market, the ranks of highly skilled professionals making a living out of IT contracting remain at a very healthy level, according to recent research by the PCG.

The PCG’s survey of the UK’s freelance workforce found that 574,000 of the country’s 1.4 million freelancers were IT contractors. 200,000 of them work through umbrella companies, with the remainder made up of those who work through their own limited companies, those on agency payroll and those who work as sole traders.

The figures will come as a reassurance to IT pros considering contracting as a career; compared to ten years ago, many companies, especially in the financial sector, are relying more heavily on IT contractors than at any time previously. Even though high-profile financial institutions like Lloyds, RBS and Nomura have announced cuts in their hourly rates for IT contractors of around 10%, it is clear that the IT skills market is much bigger than finance alone. Topping the corporate agenda for many companies are the twin issues of developing cloud computing technologies and improving information security – bread and butter issues for IT freelancers.

Not only that, but with the burgeoning rise of mobile technologies amongst the general workforce, those IT professionals with expert knowledge in devising tailor-made mobile applications will remain in high demand, as will those with .Net and SAP skills.

Despite the finance sector’s penny-pinching, lucrative contracts for IT specialists still abound in other sectors. Nil desperandum!

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