Contract job opportunities pick up in IT

28 May 2014

We have been led to believe that the IT jobs market, and specifically contracts, haven’t been affected by the recession. It’s true it hasn’t faced the difficulties a lot of industries have, most notably construction, but there has been a significant drop in contract job opportunities for a few years and some fluctuations recently.

For example, here at Hays, we saw a dip in the number of contract jobs registered in Q4 2013 and at the start of Q1 2014, but since then we’ve seen a steady rise of about 25pc more jobs available. Most of these opportunities are coming from the multinational market, as they have been for the past few years. If you were looking to work for an SME you might find it more difficult to find a contract role.

If you’re in a permanent role and feel like a change, but haven’t found the right long-term move, taking on a contract can help with the transition. Of course, one of the biggest bonuses of contracting is the money you can earn. The good news is we are seeing rate increases at renewal stage and even mid-contract. We saw 30pc more of these in Q1 this year, compared to last year.

Longer play

Another trend we are seeing at the moment is the actual contract durations are getting longer so there isn’t the pressure and hassle of having to look for a new contract every couple of months. In some cases, renewals are for 12 months as opposed to the typical three to six months. Companies are looking for commitment from contractors to stay with them for the longer duration to ensure project deadlines are met and delivery guaranteed.

Business analysts are being offered very favourable rates of €350-€450 per day, depending on industry agile experience. However, we’ve seen business analyst roles with more than five years of experience being offered €400-€450 per day, compared to a permanent salary of €50,000-€55,000 for the same level. Salaries around Ireland are typically 10-15pc lower than in Dublin. Contractors in this area can afford to be demanding in seeking the right fit for them and the right technologies they want to work in.

In the project management world, we have seen offers from €400-€500 per day, as long as you have PM certification. Project managers must have the end-to-end delivery experience in various industries for most vacancies, as multinationals seek candidates to manage global projects. Citrix is a skill that is very much in demand at the moment; we have seen rates increase by at least 10pc in the last year.

Python skills in demand

Within development, there is an urgent requirement for Python contractors to work on legacy systems upgrade projects. The number of Python-related contract jobs is on the rise, with PHP developers being x-trained to make up for the lack of available candidates. Average day rates for Python developers are €400-€450 for actual Python experience, however, for PHP x-training to Python, rates are €300-€400. BI development contracts are currently being offered at €400-€500, while .NET developer rates are around €350-450.

We are starting to see a wave of junior-level development roles, where companies are looking for the “next generation” of techies, unusual for contracting. Rates here can vary anywhere from €250 upwards.

The first quarter has seen more contract roles in the Cisco and networking areas, 20pc more than we saw in Q3 and Q4 of 2013, due to companies upgrading their current infrastructure to meet today’s demands.

These are just a few of the contract areas of IT where we’ve seen the most activity recently. If you are interested in any upcoming contract roles and their rates, or if you’d like more information on moving into contracting from a permanent role, speak to a specialist IT recruitment consultant. They’ll be more than happy to give you some advice.

Jennifer Dillon

Jennifer Dillon is an account director for Hays IT, managing large IT corporate accounts and recruiting for senior and executive level roles. With more than 15 years’ experience in the industry, Jennifer has recruited across all technologies in project management, business analysis development and infrastructure.

Contract image via Shutterstock

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