A new report has indicated that the pay and demand for IT contractors saw a steady increase in 2017. Specialist recruitment consultancy Morgan McKinley found an average pay increase for IT contractors of 12% last year.

This rise however coincides with a number of contractors jumping ship, as many worked at organisations in the public sector.

Morgan McKinley’s operation director Victoria Walmsley describes the impact of the IR35 reforms on contracting in the public sector as being a ‘gamechanger’.

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Contractors enjoyed an increase in the number of fixed-term contracts available, many of which are in small and mid-tier organisations.

It’s possible that contractors are favouring longer contracts in this time of uncertainty. This is a particularly worrying prospect with IR35 reforms lieklycoming to the private sector in the not too distant future. Now is likely being seen as being a good time to get a great contract.

Despite the positive stats about pay, there are concerns. The report does warn that as companies increase IT spend, they are likely to look for ways to reduce costs, and contractors could suffer from this. Similarly, the report indicated a growing emphasis on hiring permanent staff over contract workers.

In-house expertise

However, the report also says that companies may look to adopt technologies that they don’t have in-house, where no expertise is available to implement or operate. This could play into the hands of and the demand for IT contractors for sure.

And perhaps this contributed to a slight growth in IT contractor demand this January.

Report on Jobs, which is compiled by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, indicated a rise of 0.3 in demand for IT and computing contractors – jumping from 59.3 in December 2017 to 59.6 in January 2018.

It’s a nervous time for contractors at present, predominantly down to the potential introduction of IR35 to the private sector.

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Perhaps it’s a case of make hay while the sun shines. A boost in pay would be something any contractor would naturally be delighted with.

But how stable that will be is debatable, especially if the reports about HMRC lining up IR35 reforms in the private sector come to fruition as many suspect they will. Once they get the fan out and the proverbial starts hitting it, things could be very different!