A small drop in IT contractor demand growth during May has belied recent alerts from recruiters regarding skills shortages which are proving to be stubborn in the contracting sector whilst still growing in the permanent market.
In truth, there is still scarcity of skills among IT contractors when it comes to .Net, SQL, Development and Business Intelligence and the growth in demand increased last month to 62.9 from 64.0 in April. There was a fall in demand for permanent IT job candidates at the same time (and for the second month running) but also the amount of their skills listed on the scarce list has doubled.
Full time shortages are to be found in 9 different areas of IT work, an increase from five areas only a month ago, as revealed by the most recent REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) report on jobs. The report outlines the nine areas of scarcity as being Project Managers, PHP, Senior Development, Java, Games Technology, eCommerce, Digital Media, Cloud and Business Analysis.
Such a long list of skills shortages explains the reason that Kevin Green, the Chief Executive of REC, claims the top issue to come out of May’s report is the problems companies are having getting the skills that they require. In the past, a deficit in IT skills amongst permanent employees would have meant a big lift for temp workers and contractors who were able to offer the required skills. In the current climate however, firms are not finding the skills with contractors and temps and are instead looking at ways to improve their salary and benefits packages to tempt talent from other permanent firms.
This concern for the dearth of available IT skills has echoed across the industry with recruiters like Harvey Nash going on record that a majority of the UK’s IT leaders are finding progress with new projects hindered because of such gaps in technology skills. And Bernard Brown of KPMG (co-authors of the REC report) commented that either the candidates out there were not offering the appropriate skills, or alternatively they preferred to ‘hide in the shadows.’
Top of the list of required skills for IT leaders were the ‘doing’ skills, such as Change Management, Project Management as well as IT Strategy and Software Development.