The UK is currently enjoying a jobs boom.  These are the contractor roles reaping the benefits.   

1. Software development.  

Front end. Back end. Full stack.  These have been the big winners as more businesses and services have been forced online.  We’re currently recruiting a senior full-stack engineer to work in Bristol on up to £273 per day but I’d say the average  contractor rate for a full stack web developer is more like £590 per day - up about 80 per cent on last year.  Epic.

2. Infrastructure related roles.  

More organisations are hiring in the wake of the pandemic - more hiring means more competition to secure talent which drives the cost up.   Infrastructure designers are getting around £650 a day now, which is up almost 50 per cent higher than the sort of cash they were getting last year (although 2021 that was a weak comparator).

3. Business intelligence.  

Changes to IR35 regulations have also pushed up pay.  Day rates are up to £500 as a result, a £25 increase on last year.  At the other end of the spectrum, business analysts in credit derivatives, electronic trading, and fixed income are commanding £800 a day.  That’s close to what a CTO can command.

4. Project managers  / BAs.  

With the UK experiencing the fastest growth in the G7, there is more project work to do.  We are currently recruiting for a business change analyst on a contract worth more than £31,500 per year.  Last year, that role might have been filled by someone on less than £26,000.  Project Management Office Analysts are on about £375 a day now, up about 25 per cent.

5. Cyber.  

Not only is there a growing probability of attacks, there’s also an increased awareness of the risk of not having the right people on board. The pandemic has been a wake-up call. Increasingly, businesses appreciate that there is a commercial risk to having cyber roles unoccupied, leaving the overall organisation exposed.  That is driving employers to pay more for contractors to plug gaps.  The best cyber security architects are earning £900 a day at the moment - although most contractors are getting more like £750.

6. QA / Testing.  

Someone in, say, Newcastle can now expect to be paid London rates as they can easily work for a London client remotely.  The very best A-players are on close to £600 a day - up between 10 and 15 per cent - although the average is circa £400.

7. DevOps.

Clients now need agencies to pay their IT workers PAYE rather than Ltd Companies.  That’s driving up pay.  DevOps are  typically being paid £575 a day at the moment but lead development operations engineers can earn £750.

8. Data engineers.

As digital transformations accelerate, companies are increasingly keen to unlock the power of the treasure trove of data they have.  Rising demand is pushing up rates.  By way of example, a junior data engineer can currently command £50,000 a year - that’s close to double the pay time last year - although rises in contracting have been slightly more restrained.  Most can expect £550 a day - but data integration specialists and RHCEs will be pocketing more than £800.

9. Data analysts.

In some cases, permanent salaries are increasing, meaning that contractors are expecting more.  A fortnight ago, we were asked to fill a permanent data analyst vacancy in the City of London on up to £70,000 per year.  Inevitably, that is pushing up contractor and temp rates.  Contractors are commanding £450 a day - they were getting £400 last year.  

10. Architecture.

The competition is not just from other businesses.  We’re currently recruiting for an enterprise data architect to work for a public sector organisation.  It’s a remote role with a six month contract - the day rate is £600 per day.  In the private sector, the day rate for an Enterprise Data Architect is about £700, which has risen by more than inflation over the last 12 months.

about the author
Adrian smith
Adrian smith

Adrian Smith

senior director of operations