The number of job offers made to IT contractors in the financial services industry fell by 79 percent in January, according to Powerchex.

In its latest monthly jobs report, the pre-employment screening firm said that the reduction from December was “worrying”.

“[The 79 percent fall] is a worrying development in its own right. However, putting the latest figures into context, there are 32 percent fewer opportunities now than in January 2010 when the job market was really competitive,” said Alexandra Kelly, managing director of Powerchex.

“Many organisations appear to be delaying funding decisions to see what other companies are doing and make sure they are not over-committing themselves in non-core projects.

“This is not good news for IT contractors.”

IT contractors were only one of two financial sectors to experience the fall in appointments last month – the other was insurance, where there was an eight percent reduction from December to January.

In contrast, the number of investment banking jobs grew the most, at 23 percent.

Meanwhile, technology staffing firm ReThink Recruitment recently said that IT developers at investment banks were nearly doubling their pay by moving into a new wave of hedge fund start-ups.

In a break from tradition, start-up hedge funds have also started to offer equity to senior-level IT developers, such as CTOs and lead algorithmic developers. instead of just to front-office staff.