Pay for most freelance IT workers held steady in the economically fragile third quarter of last year, as average hourly rates in September matched those paid in January – according to a recent study by ATSCo, for view on the Contractor UK website. I found this very relevant article on the Contractor UK website and thought it would be well worth posting on our website and blog: ATSCo (of which Jenrick CPI is a member) recently undertook a pay survey to evaluate if the economic downturn due to the Credit Crunch had had any negative impact upon IT contract opportunities or IT pay rates – the survey showed quite the opposite. Hourly rates for IT contractors in jittery financial services have leapt from £45 to £50, its highest level in two years. The figures, which represent an 11% pay rise over the last six months, fly in the face of some commentators who bet the credit crunch would spark a downturn in IT spending. Strong demand for IT skills are in e-banking, web security, insurers’ compliance (Solvency II and IFRS Phase II) and in the equities/commodities trading arms of investment banks. ATSCo also pointed out that Cititec, a City-facing IT agent, found that European and Asian banks, less exposed to the liquidity crunch, want IT skills in general business areas. There has, however, been a decline in demand for IT staff in investment banks in areas like credit derivatives, according to Cititec’s managing director Stephen Grant. He said: “Banks are revising their trading strategies right now and this is leading to an increased demand for IT business analysts whose job it is to align IT systems with changing business needs.” “A lot of IT investment is now being channelled into beefing up trading systems on equities and commodities desks, where more efficient IT infrastructure is needed to process higher transaction volumes.” For contractors, a worsening of the markets might even be a positive, ATSCo said. “Banks may look to mitigate employment costs by putting a freeze on permanent hires, which often creates more opportunities for contract workers.” Moreover, the association added, cost-cutting organisations have “far less fat to trim” than in 2001 and 2002, when their IT departments were over-staffed. Contractors might even have cause to thank the rogue trader at Société Générale, according to Cititec. Risk management and compliance are still growing areas of demand for IT skills in the City,” said Mr Grant. “If anything the credit crisis and the Société Générale scandal will accelerate this process, rather than put the brakes on spending.” Meanwhile analyst firm Celent predicts that UK IT spending in the financial services sector will grow at 3.6% in 2008, compared with 4.1% last year. Links: http://www.contractoruk.com/news/003614.html