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Why IT contractors are prospering

By Matthew Brown at giant group.

The latest analysis of our contractor database looked at the IT arena and found extremely encouraging results. A staggering 96% of IT contractors believe their earnings will rise over the next 12 months a growth of 4% year-on-year - while a further 98% predict that more roles will become available over the coming 12 months. But whats behind the significant uplift in sentiment?

The analysis was further supported by research from Pierre Audoin Consultants which found that daily rates for contractors in this field are set to rise by an average of 1.2% over the next year. 

Another study from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation in conjunction with KPMG has even found that demand for contractors hit a new high this year. IT and technology now have an impact in almost every area of our professional lives and you would be hard pressed to find a sector that they havent converged into in one way or another. Even traditionally offline industries, such as manufacturing, now require IT specialists to help with their daily operations. For example, a producer of fridges for a major global drinks retailer recently installed monitors that predict when an engineer will be required to service the product. And while this saves the company millions of pounds every year in maintenance, it does require IT specialists who can install and manage the initial implementation period. And its not just in these game-changing areas of innovation that professionals are needed. The demand extends to installing basic infrastructure, developing websites and embedding computer systems into organisations and has led to a serious need for IT contracting talent.

Another factor contributing to the ongoing demand is the number of large-scale infrastructure projects that are just around the corner or already underway. The HS2 rail line, for example, along with the ongoing Crossrail project both require contractors in a range of complex fields. Consequently, experts with specialist skills can expect to be both highly sought after and able to command above-average rates at the moment. In addition to this, there are currently more than 200 major infrastructure projects that are scheduled to start between now and the end of 2015 with a total value of more than 36 billion. And while a wind farm might not be the first place you look for an IT contractor, the Gwynt y Mor offshore site the largest in Europe is just one location where specialist skills will be required.

Another area that is driving real demand for IT specialists is cyber security. To the majority of people this probably means installing anti-virus software onto a laptop but for organisations its serious business. Estimates put the cost of cybercrime on the global economy at anywhere up to $575 billion and there have already been many successful hacking attempts on a range of major companies. As a result, firms are looking to source professionals who can aid them in building up robust defences in order to prevent the losses that some organisations have experienced. However, cyber security is a relatively new field and there are fewer experts in this arena than most. The Government has gone some way in establishing a long-term solution by training children as young as eleven in cyber-security, but this is unlikely to have an effect for some time. Consequently, any professional with the knowledge of this complex and underpopulated field is likely to be highly sought after in the near future.

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