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IT Contractors: the Economics of Truth

IT contractors are almost twice as likely to lie on job applications to the financial services than a year ago; a recent survey shows. The survey, which was conducted by city pre-employment screening firm Powerchex, found that the rate of CV discrepancies of IT contractors rose by 92% from the same period last year, with 11% of applicants found to be embellishing their CVs.

London, United Kingdom, August 02, 2008 --( This finding takes on a greater significance if considered alongside recent economic developments. In the six months between June and November 2007, before the credit crunch really spread to the wider economy, only 3% of all IT contractors were found to have embellished their CV.

In the six months between December ’07 and May ’08 when rising inflation, tightening credit controls and plummeting consumer confidence made for a much more negative outlook, a substantial 19% of IT contractors applying to the financial sector were found to have embellished their CV.

Whilst it is generally accepted that CV deception rises as market conditions worsen, this development is a little unusual: contractors usually fair reasonably well in times of economic downturn as firms shift to employing a greater proportion of temporary staff, and contractors are able to switch to market sectors less sensitive to economic uncertainty.

Even as late as January, research by an industry body showed that wages of IT contractors within the financial sector were up 11% in 6 months, and at their highest in 2 years.

By May however the outlook seemed very different, with contractors reporting concern that their wage rates were being pushed downwards by the credit crunch as well as eroded in real terms by high inflation. Demand for IT contractors within the private sector fell to the lowest level since 2001, with contractors forgoing more favourable wages for longer term contracts.

That the market for IT contractors tightened considerably between January and May is also reflected within the Powerchex Survey: in the 3 month period between December ’07 and February ’08 the discrepancy rate was a little over 8%. In the period between March and May it rose to 29%.

“In this case, a perceived greater difficulty in obtaining a job in the current economic climate has led to a predictable rise in the number of people willing to exaggerate their achievements” says Powerchex MD Alexandra Kelly. “Employers need to be aware of the risks of letting any un-vetted employee inside their organisation.”

“What seems likely is that a high rate of embellishments on the CVs of IT contractors will continue whilst job opportunities remain scarce” continues Kelly.

Contact Information
Andrew McIntosh
Powerchex Limited
Gun Court, 70 Wapping Lane
London E1W 2RD

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