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How is the ongoing Brexit uncertainty affecting demand for IT contractors in the UK?

The complex and uncertain picture that continues to prevail around the United Kingdom’s (UK) impending departure from the European Union (EU) was prolonged recently, with the news that the Brexit deadline – previously set for 31st October – had been pushed back again, to 31st January 2020.

It’s unsurprising, then, that this is continuing to have certain observable effects on the decisions of the UK’s recruitment agencies and contractors alike.

One demonstration of this was to be found in the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s (REC) Report on Jobs, which gave last month’s IT contractor demand a score of 50.2. This compared to the 51.2 score that was recorded for September, and with a 50.0+ score indicating monthly growth, suggests that contract IT skills demand only marginally grew during October.

What does such a trend in the figures tell us?

One thing these figures certainly signal is that back in September – when the October deadline was still looming large – there was greater demand for IT freelancers. This is perhaps attributable at least partly to the fact that such independent professionals can be more easily picked up and dropped as conditions require, unlike the situation with permanent staff.

However, after the Brexit uncertainty was reduced slightly due to the deadline being delayed to the end of January, the full-time IT market suddenly bounced back, posting more vacancies than any other sector.

The skills picture tells a similar story

Another indication of demand for IT contractors having become a little more subdued since the Brexit deadline was extended can be found in the lists of ‘scarce skills’ that IT staff end-users are actively seeking.

There were no fewer than 11 such skills being sought in permanent IT staff, the REC’s agents said – namely data, data science, CAD, development, digital, software, technical sales, technology, IT, analysis, and automation testing.

However, the equivalent rundown of hard-to-source skills for temporary IT personnel was just eight-strong, including data science, development, CAD, IT, technology, programming, software engineering and Python.

We’ll help you to ride the ups and downs of IT contractor demand

As the third UK general election in barely four and a half years gets underway and the various party leaders make their case to the country, it is difficult to predict precisely how the Brexit situation may be shaping up even in just a month’s time.

As a consequence, the UK contracting opportunities that come your way as an independent IT professional may be similarly difficult to foresee. Similarly, if you are a recruitment agency, you may find yourself needing to act swiftly in response to the latest developments.

Here at Link Global Management, we are proud to serve as indispensable partners for contractors and agencies alike, through the provision of services ranging from tax planning advice to outsourced global payroll solutions.

If, then, you feel the need to call upon any of our wide-ranging expertise, you are welcome to do so, simply by calling +44 (0)203 829 7221 or enquiring via email.


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