Contractors look past IT industry

IT is no longer the most favoured industry to work in for Australian contractors, who prefer to seek work in the finance and manufacturing industries, according to a Deloitte Touche Tomatsu survey released last week.

Deloitte Resources' 2003 Survey of Contractors' Intentions showed that IT was no longer the darling of industries in which contractors sought work.

Deloitte Resources - a division in Deloitte which recruits accounting and finance contractors - conducted the survey in March with 204 Deloitte Resources contractors.

Some 33 per cent of contractors preferred to work in banking and finance in accounting positions. IT was no longer the most attractive industry for contractors to work in with 16 per cent of them nominating IT as their favourite compared to 88 per cent in 2002.

Meanwhile the manufacturing sector rated highly, favoured by 32 per cent of contractors while less than 10 per cent favoured government. The utilities sector lost its appeal with 5 per cent of contractors preferring to work in that industry compared to 70 per cent in 2002.

The survey found that contractors are working in these industries as "career contractors". An estimated 54 per cent of survey respondents have contracted for more than 18 months (up from 45 per cent in 2001) and are using contracting as an alternative career path to permanent positions. Also, 44 per cent would continue contracting for 18 months or more. Nearly 30 per cent of respondents entered the contractor market because they left a permanent role, while 19 per cent had been retrenched, and 17 per cent contracting as a short term solution.

Deloitte Resources lead partner Deborah Coakley said the personal flexibility in contracting allowed talented people to move from "hot" industry to industry. Talented contractors were also succeeding by choosing an industry and becoming specialists, Coakley said.

However, respondents felt the main disadvantage of contracting was lack of financial security and negative perceptions from employers. "It remains a challenge for contractors to demonstrate the value they bring to an organisation in technical expertise, as well as skill transfer on completion of assignments," Deloitte said in the survey report.

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