What does Talent’s data tell us about contractor hiring trends?

What does Talent’s data tell us about contractor hiring trends?

Posted January 4, 2024

Over the past 12 months, Talent has filled many thousands of roles across different industries, providing us with a valuable window into the professional contract recruitment market.

According to our hiring data, the transportation and logistics industry appears to be the most resilient in the face of the economic woes that have struck many other sectors over the last 12 months. This is based on the comparatively strong contractor hiring that has taken place; with contractor placements in 2023 climbing 2% higher than 2022. The combined energy, resources and utilities industry also remained fairly solid in comparison to others, with only a comparatively small 7% reduction year-on-year. Its likely continued investment in renewables projects and the burgeoning ‘green tech’ revolution sustaining the need for an injection of specialist skills prevented a bigger slide in demand.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, several publicised contractor layoffs and hiring freezes across both federal and state government departments and agencies are reflected – with declines of 16% – but it wasn’t the worst hit sector.

By comparison, financial services and consulting sectors have seen the sharpest declines in their demand for contractors year-on-year – more than 25% in each sector. This is possibly a reflection of the economic markets as well as heightened scrutiny on the use of consulting firms drying up pipelines of work, especially across the public sector. Recruitment demand for permanent consulting industry workers was also down on 2022’s figures.

One metric which has climbed year-on-year is average contractor pay rates. Across the board, rates are up an average of 4.1%. The categories which outperformed the average most noticeably were Administration (up 12.9%), Sales and Account Management (up 8.2%) and IT Support (up 8.1%).

Data, Reporting & Business Intelligence was up 4.7% compared to 2022 and also recorded the second-highest annualised income of $246,073. The highest annualised income was attributed to Cyber Security which, although pay rates stayed flat, still saw averages of $276,236 per annum.

The largest decline in contractor rates was within the broad finance category, which was down 2.2% in 2023 compared to last year.

If you’d like to delve further into your industry’s trends, tackle a critical hiring challenge together or even discuss the role of top contractor talent in your people strategy, please get in touch with our Head of Enterprise Solutions, Cameron Robinson.