Like everyone else, freelancers working for umbrella companies are approaching 2011 with a mixture of cautious optimism and trepidation. It’s not clear yet precisely how the government’s spending review will impact on the UK economy and many on the contractor payroll are anxious about future job prospects.

A trend noticed by IT recruitment specialists Prime Sourcing suggests that some organisations are planning to reduce their use of contractors in the New Year. Whilst this is unlikely to result in a jobs carnage, it may well mean that conditions will be steady as s opposed to spectacular, according to industry news portal Contractor UK.

Prime Sourcing’s Chairman, Jeff Brooks, believes that despite this trend, plenty of opportunities will continue to exist in a number of areas. He noted that consultancy companies, systems software suppliers and the banking sector are all busily recruiting IT contractors.

Even though London and the south-east continue to be the areas of strongest demand, Mr Brooks insists that other centres such as Birmingham and Manchester will also provide good opportunities in 2011. Some firms, however, are undoubtedly looking to find ways of reducing their contractor input, with several considering cutbacks of up to 50 per cent.

It simply isn’t possible at this stage to make hard and fast predictions about what the New Year will bring. Contractors could become casualties of the public spending cuts, but could equally well become beneficiaries, as private sector companies and local authorities alike turn to the flexible working model in preference to permanent appointments. As 2010 comes to a close, the jury’s still out.

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