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Financial firms lose interest in IT contractors

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(17 February 2011) Financial services outfits holding back on recruitment in January hit IT contractors harder than any other professional candidate looking for work in the sector, a London-based screening firm has shown. Like openings for other sector candidates, job offers to IT contractors by banks and financial institutions fell against December 2010’s level, according to Powerchex, which screens six types of financial industry worker. Despite this, the dip in the average financial job-seeker’s prospects during the New Year was actually only slight, as the total stock of new jobs fell just 2%, partly thanks to investment banks increasing full-time staff outside the IT department. By contrast, “things are not looking so rosy for IT contractors,” as the firm found those same banks and other financial employers provided 78% fewer temporary IT roles than they did in December. 

“The fact that the number of available opportunities for IT contractors fell by almost 80% in January is a worrying development in its own right,” said Powerchex’s managing director Alexandra Kelly.

Yet on an annual basis, she said that the slump appeared less severe, as then the figures show that only about a third fewer (new) IT contracts were agreed last month than in January of 2010 – when the market was “really competitive.” Still, last month’s drop-off for IT contractors owed to finance houses “delaying funding decisions” in order to let their rivals act first, or to avoid “over?committing” themselves on non?core projects; either way “not good news for IT contractors”.

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