IT specialists working through umbrella companies may well wish to seize an opening in the IT skills market, following the release of figures from IT recruiters IntaPeople. The data shows a precipitous drop in the number of applications for permanent mid-level positions in IT departments.

Compared to the same period last year (July to September), IntaPeople’s database reveals that the number of applications for permanent mid-tier IT roles has plunged by 22%. PAYE umbrella contractors specialising in IT contracting are, it seems, the ideal contenders for posts that appear unfillable on a permanent basis.

The IntaPeople data also shows that IT work is certainly available – the number of full-time IT posts the firm has advertised has grown. However, the number of applicants in search of them has shrunk, falling from 2,874 in quarter three last year to 2,511 in quarter three this year.

Commenting on the figures, Stephen Riley, a director at IntaPeople, said “We are already hearing about certain projects being put on hold because firms can’t find the individuals they require. We might have a lot of talent at the very top, but mid-level workers are generally the ones responsible for turning strategy into action.”

Mr Riley also confirmed that businesses are finding contractors an increasingly attractive option, because they are often “available at short notice and get settled into work very quickly.”

The shortfall in permanent applications was most acute for Java, which has become the most sought-after skill in the agency. As a consequence, businesses are especially keen to find contractors with skills in this field. Demand is also outstripping supply for C# and Business Analyst roles.

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