Depressing to say the least!
We all have the same challenge in IT - simply put, contantly having to justify our existence! The "system" is designed to keep prices pushed down - most larger companies hire external consultants / resources through their very stringent and often limited procurement processes (basically ordering people resources like they order office furniture!) - they prioritze on price more than quality & competence - and often have very aggressive terms and conditions (like 90 day payment terms!)
Also, these days - most companies insist on "all-inclusive" rates which mean us consultants have to pay the overhead of doing business with them. On top of that, there are the middle companies involved (recruiters, brokers, service delivery & outsourcers) which sqeeze the prices down adding their markups on top.
What always baffled me - is that most organizations today don't blink an eye when spending literally millions on hardware and software, but when it comes to competence & skills, they cut corners evrey which way (outsourcing, offshoring, etc.) - Unfortunately, Technology is simply a tool (a very powerful one at that!) and is most effective when it is in the "right" hands.
It is very challenging these days to push through the "chatter" on the open market and promote ones skills properly - nobody has the time or the patience to read through CVs properly anymore - especially when they receive 300 responses to their mostly generic job descriptions posted on the internet (and on less than 3% of those are actually quaslified candidates!) - sad really.
The more diverse your skill set is, the more difficult it is to promote and sell. You not only have to convince initially the recruiter, then the procurment department - then finally the decision making hiring manager (if you get that far) - that you really have the skills they seek - above and beyond the paper tiger you call a CV or Resume.
The key to success is to stay focused and keep up to date in a few areas of "expertise" of your liking (ie: security, architecture, project management or specific industry experience) - and learn to promote yourself - selling your skills goes far beyond just having a resume these days.
Hope this helps - (don't want to paint the picture all black, just a dose of reality)