What’s happening in the Scottish IT contractor market?

It’s been an interesting year so far.  January was quieter than I anticipated.  However, February & March have more than made up for it, and in particular I’m seeing significant growth across the board in the market for contractors.

Good contractors are not interested in taking on permanent roles and this can cause a number of issues for recruiters.  The best people have made enough money to sit and wait for the next, ideal opportunity.  This increases the pressure on recruiters because it takes scarce skills out of the market.  A recruiter can be tasked by a company with filling a permanent job, which needs to be filled temporarily in the meantime. So another recruiter is given the task of finding the contractor and the candidates are contacted by two recruitment companies for what is in effect the same job.  But where to find these candidates?

We are now seeing a drift of high quality candidates from the North Sea industries to the central belt. This flow is happening quietly and persistently as the oil majors reduce some of their operations in Aberdeen due to the fall in the oil price. Given that I believe that we’re looking at a medium-long term trend, of 3-5 years of solid and rising demand for contractors, coupled with an expectation of at least one more year of oil prices at current levels, more and more Aberdeen-based candidates will seek to move to the major blue-chips and other firms elsewhere in Scotland and further afield.

Gareth Biggerstaff, MD, Be-IT Resourcing