Intrepid contractors working through umbrella companies may consider a move north of the border if they specialise in IT skills market, following the latest Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs.

The Bank’s report for December reveals that temp and contractor demand remained in surprisingly good health, with billings slipping by a mere gnat’s whisker into contraction during the month. Aberdeen, especially, demonstrated vigorous strong buoyancy, with higher pay rates and higher contract billings – a sign, most likely, that offshore gas and oil renewables-led industries from the UK have successfully ramped up their prospects and are hiring contractors with gusto.

Specialists in IT contracting also have reasons to be cheerful, to recycle an already coined phrase. The Scottish IT sector is, frankly, outperforming that of the UK as a whole, with demand for IT and computing leading Bonnie Caledonia’s contractor and temp league tables. In fact, in December the sector registered an amazing index of 62. Anything over 50 represents growth; if 50 – 55 represents a gentle trot, above 60 means not a canter but a healthy gallop.

To get some perspective on the figure, just compare with the REC/KPMG’s comparable figure for the IT sector in the UK as a whole in their latest jointly commissioned latest Report on Jobs. That recorded an index of 51.4 – by no means a standstill but barely an amble. The Scottish figure is more than ten points higher.

Even so, the Bank of Scotland’s Chief Economist, Donald MacRae, remained true to his country’s reputation for dour outlooks. He said “The Scottish economy is struggling to maintain growth momentum in the face of the global slowdown.”

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