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Although conditions remain challenging across Europe, there has been a visible increase in the number of IT specialists turning to contracting as a career and lifestyle choice, according to Hays, the world’s leading recruitment experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

While an attractive salary package is clearly one of the main motivators for professionals considering taking the contracting route, it goes much deeper than that. “There are a number of ‘enticing’ factors for contractors, including project variety, to work with new technologies and different teams and the quality that enables them to focus on their specialist niche areas,” says Tobias Schillak, Business Director, Contracting, Denmark.

Other often cited reasons for choosing to go freelance include flexibility, being able to pick and choose projects, determine their hours of work and length of contract duration – particularly important to Gen Y employees. Becoming a niche expert also works wonders for the individual’s reputation.

But it’s not just the benefits to contractors, “Organisations like to have the flexibility of hiring the right resources for their projects for the duration of the project itself. The project will stop for candidate A and can start with candidate B when the next skill is necessary during a project. They want people who can hit the ground running and bring in the knowledge base that they don’t already have.” continues Tobias Schillak.

As for the specific job titles that employers are looking for, these are often quitediverse, covering a range of roles, including business analysts, project managers, test managers, architecture specialists, database developers, technical leads as well as middleware and infrastructure specialists . “Not of course forgetting the mobile arena, so Apple iOS and Google Android experience is high on the list of desired skills, next to SAP as well, at the moment in some countries,” stresses Tobias Schillak.

In a recent list of ‘100 Best Jobs in 2014’ compiled by online news portal, U.S. News, no fewer than three of the top 10 roles were tech related: top spot went to software developers/programmers,followed by computer systems analysts or ‘data scientists’ (second) and web developers (ninth).   

Interesting insight which tallies with the local jobs market reality in Denmark, which has seen the demand for software developers and programmers take off, “Organisations here are looking mostly for SAP, C# and .NET, Navision and Python specialists. The same is also true for database experts, such as Oracle, MySQL, MS SQL Server, Access, Informix and Sybase. But of course organizations are asking for many other skills as well – and we can offer candidates for all skills,” confirms Tobias Schillak.

Hays has dedicated IT contracting teams across continental Europe in France, Luxembourg, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Poland.