Mildly dispiriting news is in the air for PAYE umbrella contractors working in the IT skills market. A survey of 8,000 umbrella contractors reveals that average pay rates for those specialising in IT have fallen from £33.12 in February 2011 to £32.39 now, amounting to a drop of £1,300 in annual gross income.

According to the poll, pay rates have fallen for two consecutive years, with women faring significantly worse than men: the gap in annual income between male and female IT contractors has grown from £3,225 in 2011 to £4,459 in 2012.

The data, which comes from service provider Parasol, may reflect the slashing of contractor pay rates that took place last year in the banking and finance sector. Rates are expected to pick up again when the economy starts to grow more robustly, however.

Permies may have better prospects for pay rises, however. 59% of IT directors polled by ReThink Recruitment expect pay rates for their IT staff to rise over the next twelve months. Last year, only 47% expected pay increases, although this was at least a step up from the mere 27% anticipating income boosts in 2010.

43% of those polled also expect to increase head counts over the coming year, an increase of 7% on last year’s proportion. ReThink’s Director, Michael Bennett, said:

“This is the first really positive outlook that we have had from IT directors since the credit crunch began.”

“From the feedback that we are getting from many of the UK’s largest employers, the purse strings for their IT departments might finally be loosened.”

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