Despite recent research by Adecco suggesting that 2012 may be a prosperous year for the UK’s IT contracting community, the chances are that they are going to have to work a lot harder for their money.

This is according to a new survey by the specialist IT recruiter ReThink Recruitment, which reveals that although 90% of the IT directors polled anticipate greater workloads during the coming year, only 39% expect to have bigger budgets. Many fear that they will be unable to get business-critical projects off the ground: this is the third year running that budgets have fallen behind the expansion in workloads.

The net effect is that PAYE umbrella contractors specialising in the IT skills market are toiling away for longer hours to meet increasingly impossible deadlines with no corresponding increase in income.

The ReThink survey polled IT directors from firms with 250 or more staff members – and the evidence is that several years of Scrooge-like austerity has hit IT departments hard. The pressure has been to push pay rates down but the predictable consequence of such an approach is that key talent just is not sticking around. Losing your best techies is hardly a recipe for business success.

In the past incentives could be offered to skilled contactors to keep them on board, but this option is disappearing for many IT heads, with the consequence that their most valuable staff are being poached by rival companies with bigger funds in their talent war chests.

32% of the respondents reported that their budgets had actually fallen last year; however, 43% said that their budgets had increased on the previous year.

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