PAYE umbrella contractors seeking new opportunities in the IT skills market in 2012 may be in for a good year, with the giant IT firm Hewlett-Packard promising to share its public sector work with small businesses and accountancy leviathan Deloitte forecasting an expansion in ‘big data’ projects over the next twelve months.

Hewlett-Packard is currently the government’s biggest IT contractor and has announced that it will increase the number of SMEs in its supply chain from 10% to 15%. Techies working through umbrella companies are likely to be amongst those to benefit from the expansion in sub-contracting by the IT giant.

By making this move, which should see the 600 small firms and individual contractors currently used by HP rise by a further 150, the company is endorsing the government’s efforts to help smaller firms generate desperately needed economic growth.

Accountancy firm Deloitte also had some encouraging news for the jobbing IT contractor with its forecast that large firms will launch ‘big data’ projects worth between £650 million and £1 billion in 2012. Given the economic conditions in which these projects are to be embarked upon, it is not unreasonable to suppose that many of these companies will seek to keep permanent headcounts down by hiring skilled contractors to bring them to fruition.

Deloitte’s global lead for technology, media and telecoms, Jolyon Barker, said:

“So-called ‘big data’ projects had a total industry revenue of only £65 million in 2009.However, 2012 will see 90% of Fortune 500 companies kick off a data-related initiative, which will boost the industry’s revenue to between £650 million and £1 billion.”

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