Government tops chart for IT contract work

Where do all your taxes go? Well, according to new research, increasing amounts are being spent on IT contractors. A study indicates that the Government is now the biggest employer of IT contractors, and it seemingly has doubled its share over the last two years.

According to Giant Group, the public sector now accounts for 27 per cent of work by contractors in the UK, up from 13 per cent in 2003. By comparison, financial services account for 24 per cent, up from 19 per cent, support services have stayed steady at around the 21 per cent mark and telecoms slumps from 21 per cent in 2003 down to 12 per cent in 2005.

‘The public sector has always been the poor relation in terms of its use of temporary IT staff, but efficiency drives and increased scrutiny of major IT projects have persuaded civil servants of the necessity of bringing in private sector expertise,’ commented Matthew Brown, MD of Giant Group.

The ongoing problem of public IT projects – see Warning lights still flashing for public sector IT contracts – National Audit Office or Billions of pounds wasted on IT projects, says report – may be one explanation, but the usual suspects in such cases (for example EDS or ICL/Fujitsu) are often private companies.

Still, speaking on behalf of contractors, Brown anticipates a future bidding war. ‘The question for the government is whether it can compete long term with a resurgent financial services industry in terms of getting the skills it needs.’

And all is not lost for those contracting in the telecoms area: ‘The telecoms sector is expected to drag itself up with technologies delivering multimedia content via the Internet and on mobile handsets, which should drive future demand for IT networking skills,’ commented Brown.

The survey was conducted among 2,500 contractors.

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