The IT sector could face a shortage of permanent staff in the year ahead, according to the latest IT and technology sector salary survey from Hays IT, the leading recruiting expert. The research finds employers are facing intense competition for professionals with many employees opting to switch from permanent to better paid contract roles.

With around 15% of staff indicating they are very dissatisfied with their benefits package, and 61% saying their employer could be more generous with benefits, organisations may struggle to attract professionals into permanent positions. Many staff may prefer to switch to contract roles as they may feel they are missing out on the chance to move their career forward; around 40% report they never receive a pay review, and unsurprisingly 45% of workers feel this is insufficient. A further 35% never receive a performance review, so will have a poorer idea of how they are performing at work.

Andy Bristow, Manager at Hays Information Technology, comments: “Some employers in the IT sector are showing a worrying complacency towards their employees. We would urge them to get to know their employees better, particularly key staff, and make sure they receive the support and development they call for.”

From the survey data, 84% of staff seek increased annual leave but only 39% receive it, and 73% would seek flexitime but only 59% are offered this. In comparison, only 39% of employees seek shift working but 71% are offered this benefit.

Andy adds; “The mis-match between what employers are offering and what candidates consider important shows that many employers are out of touch with the benefits that candidates find useful. The results also raise some concerns for employers looking to hire permanently over the next twelve months. Many IT professionals will be looking to take advantage of the more competitive salaries and benefits found in contract-based roles. Employers have very high expectations of candidates, and look for those that meet all their criteria. But as more IT professionals switch to better paid and more flexible contract roles, they may struggle to find people to fill permanent positions.”

The survey also shows that 51% of contractors earn the equivalent of over £80k per annum, compared to just 12% of permanent respondents. In addition, 71% of contractors earn the equivalent of £50k a year, compared to 26% of permanent staff. This shows that contract staff with sought after skills have been able to maintain their pay levels. Overall, 54% of staff are employed in full-time permanent roles, and 27% of workers reported that three months is the minimum length of contract they would consider for short-term roles.