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Four in ten IT contractors are out of work, according to a straw poll by freelancer organisation Shout99.

A survey of 700 members carried out during the summer revealed that six in ten of those quizzed were currently working on contracts, with almost four in ten working on contracts for more than a year.

However, one in ten said they had been out of work for more than six months, while two in ten said they had been without a contract for more than a year.

In a statement Shout99 editor, Susie Hughes, said: "These findings are consistent with other surveys in the past which have revealed that between a quarter and a half of freelancers are out of contract.

"However, it is possibly the first time that it has shown that for many freelancers the time spent without work can be years rather than months. ®

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