IT contractors may be feeling the pinch thanks to reductions in rates and the arbitrary termination of contracts, but accounting contractors are still said to be relatively desirable.
Recruitment firm Joslin Rowe says rates for accountants working in temporary product control positions are robust at up to 500 a day, and that demand for them has been given a boost by the growing emphasis on risk and trade valuation.
"The UK Financial Services Authority has issued a 'Dear CEO' letter, cautioning banks and investment firms with trading operations that they will be visiting in the first half of 2009 to focus on valuation control processes," says Tom Forrest, associate director of Joslin Rowe's temporary accountancy & finance recruitment division.
He adds: "Anyone with product control experience typically gained within overseas banks or securities firms, who's risk aware, with a strong attitude, will find themselves in demand for any temporary product control jobs on offer."
Rival recruiters confirm that accounting contractors are a beacon of hiring.
"We continue to see a consistent demand for contractors within the field of product control," says Robert Walters associate director Joanna Fagbadegun.
Fagbadegun's picture is less rosy than Forrest's, however. "Banks have their pick of experienced product controllers who are happy to work at reduced rates of pay," she says.
Instead of pure product control, integration projects and business analysis may be the places to be for contract accountants.
Alexandra Williams, at Finance Professionals, says integration projects are rising up the agenda. And Fagbadegun says pay rates for project and business analysis contractors have remained consistent over the past six to 12 months, and are "certainly weathering market conditions".