IT professionals are increasingly turning to contract roles as permanent hiring slows, according to new research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), the trade association for the professional recruitment sector.

The data – provided by the world’s largest network of job boards, Broadbean Technology – revealed an 11% month-on-month fall in permanent jobs in the sector as demand continues to slow following the spikes of hiring noted last year. Contract vacancies also dropped 10% in this time frame.

However, despite this decline in demand, the data suggests that skills shortages still prevail, with application numbers continuing to fall. The number of professionals applying for permanent positions in September 2023 was down 30% year-on-year, despite the tech layoffs reported at the beginning of the year.

Applications for contract positions, in comparison, remained stable when compared to September last year, suggesting that more professionals are turning to temporary employment opportunities in the current climate.

 

Ann Swain, Global CEO of APSCo, comments:

“The last nine months have been turbulent for the IT sector with tech layoffs influencing the market. However, as a skill-short remit, an influx of active candidates isn’t necessarily bad news. What is noteworthy, though, is the broad stabilisation in applications for contract positions, which suggests that many professionals are choosing to move into this more lucrative avenue as demand for permanent positions declines. For businesses and recruiters, this will have a longer-term impact on future recruitment in the profession. As more experts capitalise on the opportunity to command higher pay through contract work, securing top IT talent will become increasingly expensive.”