Shorter contracts for ICT roles are now in vogue as the Australian industry cuts down on long-term projects to drive down costs, according to the IT Contract and Recruitment Association (ITCRA).
In its latest ITCRA iSkillsMatch Contractor Salary Survey, ICT job contracts for a one to three-month period accounted for 35 per cent of contract placements made in the second quarter of 2012. In the same quarter of 2011, that figure was just 16 per cent.
Longer contracts of seven to 12 months made up only 23.47 per cent of placements in the most recent quarter.
Cutting down the duration of contracts may backfire on employers, according to the ITCRA.
"While short-term contracts seem like an easy answer, they can prove more expensive over the long term," ITCRA CEO Julie Mills said in a statement. "However, we'll see many employers continue to engage in contractors in the next quarter, as a response to a strategic need to cut costs."
Despite average hourly rates for ICT contractors remaining steady throughout 2012, there have been big movements within individual roles. For example, hourly rates for web developers jumped by 49 per cent while, conversely, account manager rates fell by 50 per cent.
Workers skilled in C# earned the most, with an average rate of AU$152.35 per hour.
SAP and Cisco skills were also favoured, with workers being paid an average of AU$119.54 and AU$103.21 an hour, respectively.
Analyst programmers were in high demand in the second quarter, with placements up 61 per cent from the previous quarter.
Placement for business intelligence consultants experienced the biggest drop of 23 per cent.