The recession has had a detrimental effect on recruitment in the UK but new research conducted by ReThink Recruitment found that IT contractors were actually hit harder than anyone else, particularly as contractor rate reduction programmes were commonplace throughout 2009.

ReThink, a technology staffing company, found that during last year a massive 98 per cent of IT contractors were faced with pay cuts or pay freezes. The average pay cut was around ten per cent. This was in comparison to 71 per cent of their permanent counterparts. The research also found that over half of the IT directors surveyed were planning to freeze pay rates during the coming year and 83 per cent expect that contractor rates will stay the same. It is unlikely, however, that IT contractors will see their pay rates cut this year.

Research suggests that the demand for experienced and skilled contractors is now beginning to pick up again. This is particularly true of contractors who are trained and skilled in LINUX, .Net, Java and C#. Demand has increased for these skills sets over the past three months, which suggests that contractor opportunities are set to increase in 2010.

Director of ReThink Recruitment, Michael Bennett, commented: “Contractors are more vulnerable to market fluctuations, so it’s no surprise they have been hit hardest by the recession. That said, with the job market now tightening rates for contractors should rise ahead of pay increases for permanent staff.”

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