With 72% of businesses saying they do not expect to increase the number of permanent ICT staff this year, contractors are the big winners.

A survey of 400 hiring managers, spanning small and large private and government organisations across Australia, found 76% expect to maintain or increase their use of contractors in 2017.

This is the highest proportion since 2007.

The survey by Clicks IT Recruitment found that compared to 12 months ago, 26% of organisations had increased the amount of money paid to ICT contractors.

“Prior to 2015, contractor rated were broadly stable,” the report found. “Last year we saw a significant rise in those having to pay more than expected. This may be due to organisations ramping up their digitals strategies, which resulted in increased demand.”

Demand for some contract roles is so high, that 20% of employers are willing to hire contractors even if they don’t have all of the skills required, “so long as they have the right attitude”.

Over the next 12 months, the strongest demand is expected to be for ICT business analysts, project managers and digital/data specialists.