The overall demand for skilled candidates was revealed to still be significantly increasing, as of November, according to the monthly Report on Jobs by IHS Markit/REC. Consultants were asked to report on the availability of contractors and the latest index result was 39.6. Index readings below 50 indicate a lower availability than the month before, thus underlying how drastically the supply of skilled candidates in the market continues to drop. In particular, IT contractors have been noted to have the sharpest increase in demand in the space of just one month. As of November, the REC revealed the large-scale increase from eight skill shortages in October to over twenty in November. This is excellent news for IT contractors looking for new projects and roles. But which skills are the most sought-after by employers? We reveal which proficiencies per sector are the lowest in supply.


Demand for IT contractors has not slowed down in 2017. Consultants reported in the IHS Markit/REC Recruitment industry survey that the key temp skills in highest demand are:

  • Automation Testers
  • Application Testers
  • Cyber Security
  • Digital
  • Gaming
  • GDPR
  • IT
  • Pen Testers
  • Scala Developers
  • UI Developers


According to Contractor UK the skill shortages in technology temp staff are:

  • Application Support
  • Automation Testing
  • CAD
  • Cyber Security
  • Cisco
  • DevOps
  • Digital
  • GDPR
  • IT
  • Java Development
  • Matlab
  • Oracle Fusion
  • Pen Testing
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Scala Development
  • ScrumMasters
  • Software Development
  • UX


Brexit is thought to be the cause of this shortage, as the REC acknowledges “parts of the economy most reliant” on EU workers, such as IT, are “under pressure” as many contractors are returning home due to the leave vote. In fact, REC chief executive, Kevin Green warned in September that slowdown of EU nationals travelling to the UK for work would worsen the situation. Then in October, he further cautioned that because of the uncertainties Brexit has brought upon immigration, many EU workers have actually begun leaving. This is positive news for British IT contractors, as the genuine talent shortages could allow them to raise their pay rate.

Speaking to a recruitment agency, they had a different observation to the decline inexperienced professionals. They acknowledged that:

“The availability of skilled contractors continues to decline. This has resulted in fierce competition among organisations to hire the top talent.” However, she had attributed this drop of experienced candidates to the reduced value of the pound:

“In the past, working in the UK was attractive for EU nationals because of the strong pound. However, it’s now becoming more difficult to attract talented EU nationals to UK roles because earning potential is no longer much higher in the UK than in their home countries.” Consequently, this has paved the way for more job opportunities for British contractors.


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