The increase is being driven by rapidly growing business investment in IT, which is underpinned by several fundamental factors including:
1) Businesses unlocking budgets for IT investment after a considerable period when cost-cutting meant IT projects were viewed as a low priority. As the economy improves, businesses are now bringing in IT contractors to deliver upgrades to their existing systems that will improve efficiency, productivity and customer service.
2) The explosion of the ‘app economy’, estimated to be worth £4 billion to the UK economy this year but expected by some to rise to £31 billion by 2025, attracting entrepreneurs and venture capital investment.
3) The growth of mobile commerce (transactions via mobile devices) means that businesses are investing in their web presence and e-commerce system to make them compatible with mobile devices.
4) Businesses are investing in cloud computing for data storage and software to offer their employees greater flexibility and boost the productivity of a business.
With more upcoming projects requiring their expertise, IT specialists are in a strong position to pick and choose which projects they work on. IT departments suffered from comprehensive cuts during the financial crisis as businesses struggled to manage costs. Many businesses will not have upgraded their IT infrastructure which is now outdated and in desperate need of an overhaul to bring it up to scratch.
Continued failure to address this may end up hitting a business’ productivity and eventually profits. Businesses will require IT specialists for the project management of the upgrade as well as contractors with a high level of technical skill to help build the project.
The IT sector has traditionally always attracted high numbers of self-employed contractors as businesses may only require the expertise of additional IT professionals for a limited period to help deliver specific projects.
This is an arrangement that maximises income for the contractor and minimises payroll costs for the employer.