The economy may be in a parlous state overall, but PAYE umbrella techies working in the IT skills market look set to find plenty more work coming their way, according to a new survey by IT industry body Intellect.

Intellect polled 86 senior executives from IT companies in the UK, 43% of whom said their firms were very likely to increase hiring over the coming six months. 40% said that further hiring in the next half year was a possibility.

The findings are striking, not least because the same respondents were far from confident about the government’s growth strategy. Despite acknowledging the precarious state of the general economy, they were considerably more confident about the IT sector’s prospects: 51% reported that business had improved and 60% said that their firms had increased investment over the last two quarters.

Commenting on the survey, Intellect’s deputy director general, Antony Walker, said: “It appears that companies have invested during this year and are now looking to maximise that investment.”

His remarks, however, came with a warning. He added: “The industry agrees with the chancellor that technology can be an engine for growth, but the worrying thing is that business leaders don’t feel the government fully understands the sector and the opportunities it can create.”

Of particular concern to these companies is a significant skills shortage, both in the short- and long-term. This may undermine their ability “to turn their ambitions into real jobs”, he said.

This is exactly where the UK’s growing band of IT contracting experts could, and probably will, make a real difference.

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