Demand for technology contractors continues to grow with day rates increasing by an average of 2.8% in the past year, up from 1.8% the year before.
According to the survey by recruitment firm Hays, developer roles have seen pay grow across almost all UK regions. For Java developers, demand is often outstripping supply, it said, noting that development roles in digital technology have seen pay rise by 4.9% since last year.
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It said functional testing roles, such as test analysts and senior test analysts, have also seen significant day rate increases, as have QA analysts. It said contractors working in cloud computing and infrastructure roles saw a 3.8% average day rate increase.
A junior Java developer can typically expect £350 a day, rising to £500 for a Java developer, £600 for a technical lead and £700 a day for a software architect. Developers with C#, VB.net or ASP.net skills out-earned Java developers by £50 a day at each level, according to the report.
The highest paid development role was development director, earning £900 a day.
All of these rates are for London; outside the capital rates are lower; in the case of Northern Ireland a development director would make £450 a day, a junior web developer around £150. However, because of variations in the cost of living, some tech workers may be better off outside of London.
There are also healthy pay rates on offer for some cloud computing skills. An AWS architect can expect £650 a day.
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Continuing demand for contractors reflects an ongoing struggle to find staff with the right skills to support digital transformation projects and other initiatives. For some companies, being able to use expensive contractors for a short period is more cost-effective than having them as permanent staff. According to Hays, 61% of organisations said that skills shortages are impacting their ability to deliver projects, and 54% say they have affected organisational productivity.
"Skills shortages look set to continue throughout the next year as almost two-thirds (65%) of employers cite a shortage of suitable candidates as the primary challenge they anticipate when engaging with contractors over the next 12 months."
While contractor rates are often a lot higher than salaries for these roles, contractor roles can be much shorter in duration.