High dismissal rates within the IT industry are raising fears that the urgent need for freelancers is bringing down standards, according to a telephone survey conducted by Elan Computing.
The IT recruitment agency surveyed 60 of its clients to find out why contractors are getting dismissed.
Peter Anthony, sales and marketing director at Elan, said: 'Dismissal rates can be high. As the IT skills shortage becomes more acute, the problem will be exacerbated over the next few years.'
As customers realise this, they are more likely to take safeguards such as service level agreements with agencies. Anthony pointed out that the increasing amount of money spent on procurement has led to the rise of such agreements.
Eighty-nine per cent of respondents said the most common reason for dismissal was inability to do the job. Eighty-four per cent cited poor timekeeping as the second most common reason for dismissal. An inability to become part of a team was mentioned by 45 per cent of respondents, while sexual harassment and drunkenness were both mentioned by 36 per cent. Finally, 27 per cent cited contractors forming illicit sexual relationships within the company.
The survey also found that one contractor was dismissed for running an escort agency from his desk during working hours, while two others dismissed contractors who had been caught asleep in the toilet.
Tony Hart, a consultant at the National Computing Centre, did not believe the dismissal rates were higher among contractors than in any other business.
However, he acknowledged that problems do occur because of skills shortages.
'The penetration of IT into business over the past decade has been enormous and will continue.'
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