Now is not the best time to be working as an IT contractor in the financial sector. Rates have been more or less universally cut by at least 10% and new opportunities are thin on the ground.
To those outside of the financial services industry, however, the rates on offer are still comparatively alluring. In particular, those contractors currently working in digital agencies on projects related to tablet and smart phone apps and social media initiatives are being swayed by day rate rises of up to 25%.
“The demand for digital projects has never been so great but the problem companies now face is the shortage of digital skills available," says Dave Pye, CEO of IT in finance recruiters the JM Group. "Over the last six months we’ve seen a crossover of digital contractors moving from agencies into the financial sector. This has been a real issue for companies which are unable to compete with the rates these banks are offering."
Banks have been slow to move into mobile and tablet applications, but the number of products they offer has picked up pace this year. The likes of Barclays Capital, Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Nomura all developed iPad apps related to their investment banks, while Deutsche Bank expanded on its prime services app to include research, stock trading, post-trade and other services.
Then there's the retail banks, which have been competing against one another for the best online and mobile banking technology.
If you're working as an iPhone or Android developer for an agency, you earn an average of £35k, according to JM Group's figures, while contract roles pay between £300-500 a day. Banks can pay £70k for a full-time developer and up to £650 a day for contractors.
All this is another twist in the ongoing battle for technology talent between the City and the new 'Tech City' in Shoreditch, which has been actively targeting banks for new recruits.
As we've mentioned before, more technologists in the financial sector are less concerned about money on offer and more about exciting projects within the job itself. Therefore, there's been something of a gravitation towards entrepreneurial tech companies.
Bigger pay packets, however, are clearly still important to some IT professionals.