The IT contractor market continues to go from strength to strength in 2021 despite the introduction of IR35 in the private sector and the blanket bans being imposed by end clients on limited company contractors.
The recruitment industry confirms that the more technical areas of the IT labour market are still in strong demand with contractors able to “pick and choose” temporary assignments. IT contractors with experience in AWS, software development, security products supporting cloud projects, RPA/AI are all in demand as end clients seek the skills that they can’t recruit for on a permanent basis. Individuals in less technical roles who saw their work dry up and rates plummet during the pandemic are now seeing their rates returning to pre-covid levels.
Market intel strongly indicates that end clients engaging IT contractors are using a blanket ban approach for IR35 and do not want to be introduced to PSC contractors, despite the best efforts by recruiters to guide end-user organisations to make the right decision for their contractor workforce. Anecdotal evidence of the struggles experienced by recruiters to recruit for such clients abound in the industry with one recruiter going public and advising that if their client had not had a ban in place then their vacancy would have been filled within 5 days, but instead it took 6 weeks. How long end clients taking this approach continue to do so is questionable.
As Q4 2021 approaches, many IT contractors are able to pick and choose the contract that suits them and many will turn their backs on contracts that force them to work inside IR35. With many permanent placements proving difficult to fill this could add to the end user’s headaches and how this will play out only time will tell. For now it is clear that IT contractors are in a position of strength for the rest of 2021.
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