The IT contracting space has recorded a "significant shift in opportunities" since the financial crisis, according to research from professional employment provider giant group.
According to a survey of its contractors by giant, pre-recession (before 2008), contractors reported a high level of public sector work (26 percent). This figure has since dropped, with support service opportunities in the private sector now leading demand (25 percent).
Contracting in financial services saw a peak between 2009 and 2011, as the sector was forced to install new systems in line with the Financial Services Act 2010 and bank ring-fencing, despite the recession.
The survey shows the financial services market is now a mixed bag, with some sectors, including investment banking, expecting to see a modest upturn in employment after seeing a downturn at the height of the recession.
The survey also found that income has been affected by budget cuts. Pre-recession, the majority of IT contractors surveyed were predicting an increase in earnings (74 percent), with only four percent expecting a decrease. This latter figure doubled between 2012 and 2013, however, with eight percent now expecting a drop.
The importance of job security is up on pre-recession figures too. Where only 16 percent of those surveyed ranked job security high as an element which attracts them to a contract between 2006 and 2007, this figure is now up to 20 percent, the second most important element recorded in 2012-2013.
This is indicative of the general shift in priorities noted across contractors as the economic crisis created a need for security, said giant.
Matthew Brown, managing director of giant, said: "Overall, the picture has remained fairly positive for the contracting community. In an online business environment there will always be a need for specialist IT contractors in the support services sector, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that this area has remained fairly stable."
He added: "What is interesting though is the effect the economic crisis had on IT opportunities in financial services and the public sector. As two of the biggest hit areas during the recession, this peak in opportunities reflects the increase in contractor demand these difficult times have caused.”