IT contractors working in the financial services sector should consider going permanent, pre-employment screening firm Powerchex has warned.

In its jobs report for September, Powerchex found that the number of confirmed job offers made in the financial services sector had declined for the second consecutive month. This is after an “encouraging” first half to 2010.

Compared with August, the number of IT contractor jobs had fallen by around 25 percent, while year-on-year, numbers had dropped by 60 percent from September 2009.

Alexandra Kelly, a director at Powerchex, said: “If you are an IT contractor on current assignment, it would be worthwhile exploring the possibility of going permanent.

“With 4,500 Lloyds IT contractors about to be made redundant there is going to be a glut of contractors in the marketplace, and opportunities, permanent or temporary, are going to be harder to come by.

She added: “With financial services looking to reign in recruitment over the next six months, it is going to be difficult period for many IT contractors within financial services, as non-core projects are delayed until business confidence improves.”

Across the whole financial services sector, Powerchex’s monthly report showed that the number of job offers had fallen by a further four percent last month, following a 10 percent drop in August. The only the investment banks and asset management firms saw an increase in job offers in September, up 29 percent and 16 percent respectively.

“I anticipate that the number of job opportunities within financial services will continue to decline as we move into Q4. In fact, my ‘optimistic’ scenario is for the number of employment opportunities to remain the same into 2011,” said Kelly.

Nonetheless, Kelly said that the overall job market is in “much better shape” than 12 months ago. The number of September job offers was 26 percent higher than in September 2009, and 39 percent more job offers were made in Q3 2010 than in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, contractors are unlikely to find much hope in the public sector after the government announced plans to drastically cut public sector IT spending in the Comprehensive Spending Review.

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