The number of vacancies in IT has grown for the first time since January 2008, with a 1% increase in the third quarter compared with the previous quarter.But the upturn needs to be treated with caution. Vacancies are still down 29.3% from the start of 2009, and a massive 49.3% since this time last year.
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The latest Salary Services Limited (SSL)/Computer Weekly IT salary survey also found that the majority of IT recruitment is now internet-based, with print advertising restricted to more senior positions.
The 1% increase in permanent jobs is led by an upturn in demand for developers. There were 25,133 advertisements placed in the third quarter, compared with 23,324 in the second quarter. Development jobs, along with programming jobs, account for 39% of all vacancies advertised, so the figures are a fairly good indication of what will happen in the market as a whole.
There are further reasons for optimism in the figures for software houses and the finance sector, which experienced increases of 1% and 2% respectively. Combined, the two sectors account for 79% of the IT recruitment market.
Much of the boost to IT recruitment comes from the contractor market. George Molyneaux, recruitment research director at SSL, says, "Software houses and the banking sectors were the first to reduce IT staffing levels, with perhaps an over-emphasis on cancelling projects and the associated development teams. The effect of this has been an almost immediate rebound in demand for contract development staff during the past three months."
But it is not good news everywhere. Most job categories saw a slight decrease in vacancies, and some sectors - media, retail and manufacturing - are still falling. It is also worth noting that recruitment levels are currently down 61% down on the peak times of two years ago. But the positive signs glimpsed last quarter seem to be continuing.