The average contract length for ICT roles is shortening, with more contracts lasting between one to three months and at the expense of longer contracts, according to A/NZ IT contract and recruitment industry body, ITCRA.
Its latest iSkillsMatch Contractor Salary survey found contract duration has been steadily shifting from longer-term to shorter-term contracts in the second quarter of 2012.
According to ITCRA CEO, Julie Mills, the number of contracts between one and three months accounted for 16 per cent of all contract placements made in the third quarter of 2011, but the rate surged to 35 per cent in the second quarter of 2012.
Conversely, longer contracts between seven and 12 months accounted for 36.5 per cent of all placements in the third quarter of 2011, as compared to 23.47 per cent of placements in the most recent quarter.
Mills said the trend was reflective of an industry that is ‘treading water’ rather than engaging in long-term projects.
The survey also analysed the average hourly rates for ICT contractors.
It showed that while average rates have been generally steady throughout 2012, there were changes within individual roles, with hourly rates for Web developers growing by 49 per cent and account manager rates falling by 50 per cent.
“The largest increases in average contractor hourly rates were for web developers, security consultants and test analysts, while the largest decreases were in the average hourly rates for account managers, technical writers and data conversion leads,” Mills said.
She added that the highest paying technical skill was C#, and contractors providing this skill earned an average of $152.35 an hour in the second quarter of 2012 while those with SAP and Cisco skills were also remunerated highly, at an average of $119.54 and $103.21 an hour respectively.
The survey also showed the largest increase in placements was for analyst programmers, jumping 61 per cent from the previous quarter and the largest drop was for business intelligence consultants, with placements falling 23 per cent.
“ITCRA believes that we’ll see these numbers continue to vary considerably, as employers trial various engagement models in an attempt to balance talent needs and costs.
“While short-term contracts seem like an easy answer, they can prove more expensive over the long-term. However, we’ll see many employers continue to engage contractors in the next quarter, as a response to a strategic need to cut costs,” Mills said.