Contractors skilled in Business Analysis and Security were in short supply in January, alongside five other types of IT job candidate who have been scarce since December. Unveiling its Report on Jobs, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation showed that a pre-2012 shortage of Oracle, .Net, Datastage, Citrix and Firewall contractors spread into last month. Taken with the fresh client-demand for contract BA and Security candidates, the REC identified seven “key” IT specialisms which its agents found hard to source on a temporary basis.
The REC’s list of sought-after contract IT skills getting longer reflects a tiny improvement in demand for temporary computer job-seekers, as recorded by the report’s IT sector index. It scores demand for such freelance IT job candidates at 51.7 – against 51.4 in the previous report, meaning demand has recovered since December. Last January it was much stronger, however, at 61.2. The annual decline in temporary billings was linked to the Agency Workers Regulations, which came into force in October 2011, although the evidence was said to be inconclusive.
In one section, the report says “agencies [where] temporary/contract staff billings fell…[had] a number of panellists commenting on the impact of Agency Worker Regulations.” But later on, REC chief executive Kevin Green cited “little evidence that the Agency Workers Regulations have had a significant impact on hiring”. This chimes with REC’s latest findings on the issue. He went on to acknowledge a recent dip in temporary staff billings, overall, but says hirers are still making “considerable use of flexible working arrangements”. Another “positive indicator”, the first of its kind for some time in fact, is that hirers have returned to recruiting for permanent roles, “despite the ongoing weakness of the economy.”
The technical jobs market, as measured by the billings and feedback of the 400 REC agents, is a case in point: monthly demand for full-time techies increased in January, as did demand for full-time engineers. But outfits face disappointment if they only want IT appointments on a permanent basis: asked about skills in short supply, the REC agents found no less than 10 IT candidate-types who were tough to source for full-time openings. Indeed, the number of skills on the scarce list was higher for permanent IT staff recruiters than it was for their counterparts sourcing workers for the payroll in five other key professions.
The full-time IT staffing agents noted a dearth of full-time Database administrators, Developers, IT marketers, Security, VB, C#, SAP and .Net candidates, while also seeing too few applicants for Datastage and DB2 positions.