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The Association of Technology Staffing Companies (Atsco) surveyed more than 20,000 UK IT professionals and found that IT contractors in financial services saw their pay increase 2% in the last six months of 2003.
IT workers in technology companies, such as electronics, aerospace and the software industry, made greater gains and enjoyed average pay rises of between 6% and 9%.
The financial services industry is one of the biggest spenders on IT in the economy and contractor pay rates can serve as a barometer for the IT jobs market.
"Financial services pay rates have lagged behind the upturn in other sectors, particularly government," said Ann Swain, Atsco's chief executive. "It now seems as if we are seeing the first glimmer of recovery in the sector that fell the furthest in the stock market crash.
"City institutions scaled IT departments down to minimal operational requirements during the downturn, so any upturn is going to feed through to job creation fairly quickly."
Forthcoming regulations with IT implications, such as Basel 2 and Sarbanes-Oxley, have also fuelled IT activity, Swain added.