The proportion of IT contractors who work in the engineering sector is up by more than 60% in just 12 months, as preparations for the 2012 Olympics accelerate, research from contractor services provider Giant Group has revealed.

According to the survey of over 1,500 IT contractors, 10.2% now work in the engineering and construction sector, compared with 6.3% a year ago.

With the design of the Olympic facilities and infrastructure underway, the work is requiring significant numbers of software engineers skilled in advanced computerised modelling to assist with structural analysis before construction can commence – all this despite the revelation earlier this month that the government failed to include IT systems in its original Olympics costings.

Giant Group MD Matthew Brown said: “Programming skills are required during the design phase of Olympics projects. Software engineers will build computer models and run simulations to stress test every structural part before construction can begin.”

“The computer modelling is incredibly exhaustive because engineers need to know designs will work years before they are actually built.”

The numbers of IT contractors involved with Olympics projects is predicted to increase further in the years ahead as the telecoms and media infrastructure is put in place.

Brown said: “The network infrastructure is absolutely vital to the Olympics. When this aspect of development gets going demand for networking skills is going to surge.”

Information distributed over the Olympics 2012 network will include event schedules and real-time results, athlete profiles, weather and performance data.

With unemployment among IT contractors at a low leve, and demand for IT skills robust across other sectors of the economy, experts have warned the engineering sector will have to be increasingly competitive on pay and benefits if it is to attract and retain the right quality of people.