After three months of falling demand for IT contractors, the good news is that there was an upturn in demand in April. This was in part due to a requirement for highly-skilled technical staff at a time when companies lacked the confidence to take on full-time employees.

The latest REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) Report on Jobs highlights that demand for permanent staff with IT skills fell from 68.8 to 68.5; however, the situation for Umbrella Company Employees and other temporary staff in the IT sector showed an increase from 63.7 to 64. Even though this increase for temporary staff is not big, it gives an indication that there has been a turnaround in the prospects for this sector.

REC data reveals that IT contractor demand fell each month in the first quarter of the year before April’s increase; conversely, April was the first month of the year to see demand for permanent IT staff go down after growing steadily in the first quarter.

In an attempt to explain the recent trends in the market, the REC suggests that companies are “focusing their attention on trying” to bring in highly-skilled workers with “proven skills and track records”. Another explanation put forward is the skills shortage.

Areas where a skills shortage is prevalent include .NET and PHP, which is a problem for both permanent and temporary staffing.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said that thousands of companies are “not able to find the skills and talent they need to meet increasing demand” at the moment, which may mean that employers will have to search abroad.

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