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Public sector loses appeal for IT contractors whilst private sector rises

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The government’s commitment to austerity has made itself felt when it comes to local authority recruitment, with many IT contractors finding that the availability of work in the public sector has dropped off significantly. Whilst those in charge are attempting to limit the spending on flexible workers, the end result that the pipeline of contracts has been getting drier and drier for those who may once have expressed an interest in such work, particularly in the IT sector.

For most IT contractors, this fall in demand has not come as a surprise, with fewer than a fifth saying that they expected there to be any upturn in demand over the coming months. In a poll conducted by a leading umbrella company, only 17 per cent of the contractors on their books believe that the public sector will be in a position to generate a significant number of freelancer opportunities in the next year.

This is in spite of predictions dating back as far as 2008 at which point almost a third of IT contractors believed that the public sector would yield not just a high proportion of contracting opportunities, but actually provide more work than seven other rival sectors.

Commentators believe that the combination of overall austerity and specific budget cuts have been instrumental in reducing the number of opportunities available in the public sector, and with fewer and fewer IT professionals believing that they will find work, this could be cause for concern. However, the drop-off in public sector recruitment has been more than made up for by increasing demand from the private sector. The transport, leisure and telecoms sectors have been demonstrating increased demand for IT contractors and with many such contracts offering more competitive terms and prospects, it’s no surprise that

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