UK shifts towards more permanent contracts

The
current economic climate is prompting UK businesses to move away from
short-term employment contracts, a new study claims.

The
shift to permanent contracts is highlighted in a new report on the IT jobs
market – often used as a barometer for overall business trends – which also
indicates that the IT market has bottomed out, with a slow upturn predicted for
2003.

The
Employment Trends Report, undertaken annually by Elan, was conducted among UK
blue chip companies and contractors.

It
revealed that more than 75 per cent of firms do not currently employ any IT
contractors. Of those companies who do, one in four have no existing vacancies
on IT projects – highlighting how businesses are re-evaluating recruitment
spending in a time of general cutbacks.

Most
contractor assignments have been cut to between three and six months, with
long-term and open-ended contracts – a feature of the 1990s – becoming less
common.

More
temporary staff are after a permanent position. Seventy-six per cent of
contractors are seriously considering accepting a permanent position, compared
to only 28 per cent this time last year.

Kate
McClorey, board director at Elan said: "Our latest research shows how the
employment landscape has changed dramatically in the last 12 months. The
contractor arena has been hit especially hard by the downturn in the economy –
and project staff are feeling the pinch when it comes to finding work. It was
generally predicted that the market would have picked up by now, but
unfortunately it has been a much slower recovery than was originally hoped."

By Quentin Reade

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