Are there fewer contract opportunities in the IT jobs market right now?

With anecdotal reports from contractors and recruitment agents reporting fewer contract opportunities, but day rates holding steady or even increasing, it seems like the contract market in mid-summer 2023 is presenting quite a confusing picture!

So Outside Spy determined to crunch the numbers are compare June & July data to the same months last year, as well as the preceding 2 months (April & May).

The total number of Outside IR35 IT contracts we discovered in the period June & July 2023 numbered 9588. Compared to the previous 2 months, where only 8849 contracts were advertised this represents an actual rise of over 8%. Whilst it is unusual for the summer months to be busier than the spring, it needs to be remembered that the April & May numbers were down in part due to the larger number of bank holidays, which this year included both Easter and the Coronation.

It’s when compared to the previous year that a truer picture can be seen. June & July 2022 can be seen in retrospect as a relative boom time for contractors, with a total of 14493 Outside IR35 contracts advertised in the period, a massive 57% higher than the corresponding period this year. Last year the usual fall-off in contracts over the summer simply failed to materialise, and activity remained very strong.

So has the reduction in contract numbers meant a reduction in contractor rates? This is more difficult to establish, as there is only ever limited or anecdotal evidence of rates achieved, and these are suggesting that rates for new contractor placements are indeed under pressure, although existing placements/renewals may well be able to achieve slight increases in line with the higher living costs that are affecting everybody.

Outside Spy specialises in finding and distributing all the IT Contracts that have been assessed and advertised as being “Outside IR35”, in one easy to navigate database. Non-subscribers can find a selection of roles on our website, whilst subscribers have full access to the database and unlimited email alerts, for a small monthly fee. Join Outside Spy