Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Austerity impacting public sector IT vacancies

by Matthew Brown, managing director of giant group

Apparently the ‘word of the year’ in 2014 was vape. It may be too early to predict what the winner will be this year but we’d be willing to bet that it’s austerity. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone living outside of a cave who isn’t aware of the current programme being pushed through by the Conservative government and many others around the world. This has had a significant effect on the employment arena and our latest analysis of our contractor database found some interesting results. But how has austerity affected the IT market?

Unsurprisingly, one of the strongest trends our analysis identified was that IT contractors expect public sector roles to fall, with just 17% predicting an increase over the next 12 months. In contrast, the vast majority of professionals predict that the private sector will pick up the slack with the results suggesting opportunities will rise in fields as diverse as property and tourism as a result of growing investment.

The growing need for IT contractors is certainly down to firms splashing out on improving their existing systems in order to drive for further growth, but the wide spread nature of this demand stems from the fact that technology now impacts almost every industry. Looking back twenty years it would have been hard to imagine how far the use of smart phones, for example, has reached. And now even sectors such as manufacturing or education - where it previously would have difficult to predict how technology could make a difference - also require the skills of IT specialists. The results also highlight the ongoing positivity that many private sector firms seem to be experiencing. If their outlook was bleak it’s unlikely they would be investing in the expertise of contractors so the data also hints that the UK is on track for growth.

While it would obviously be preferable to see more growth from the public sector, it’s highly unlikely in the current climate and it’s almost impossible to imagine the Conservatives splashing out on public services anytime soon. It also appears equally unlikely that Jeremy Corbyn and Labour will get anywhere near the hot seat, if he’s even still leading the party by 2019, so these cuts within the public sector are likely to continue for some time. However, such is the growth of the IT and technology sectors and their increasing impact on almost every area of private sector business that demand for contractors should remain high over the coming months.

What factors do you think are driving demand for IT contractors within the private sector?

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