As we might expect in economically uncertain times, conflicting reports about the future prospects of UK plc will abound. Just as the Institute of Directors publishes its report suggesting that economic growth for next year will be much lower than the government’s predicted 2.1 per cent (the IoD believes it will be closer to 1.2 per cent), another leading industry body, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), suggests that the outlook for the recruitment industry in the coming year looks positive.

PAYE umbrella contractors in the field of IT especially can take heart from the comments of REC spokesman, Jeff Brooks, who is Chair of the organisation’s technology sector group. According to Mr Brooks, a range of sectors including pharmaceutical, science, technology, engineering and financial, are all reporting that they are now experiencing positive growth. This represents a significant change from this time last year, when each of these sectors appeared to be either shrinking or, at best, standing still.

The skills of the IT contracting community in particular appear to be in demand. According to Mr Brooks, umbrella companies with skilled IT professionals on board are in an “excellent position” to provide customised information, skilled expertise and support to specialist recruiters across a variety of different markets. He added that for 2011, priorities for the REC will include driving sector-specific lobbying and raising client awareness.

With temperatures set to plummet again this week across the UK, Mr Brooks’ comments may bring a little warmth and cheer to those in the IT skills market at least.

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