The number of advertised job vacancies in IT grew 1.9% in the final quarter of 2009. This builds on the 1% growth in the previous quarter, but hopes of recovery need to be treated with caution.
Vacancies are still 9.8% lower than they were at the start of 2009 and more than 50% below the number seen in the last quarter of 2007 ahead of the world financial crisis and economic recession.
The latest Salary Services Limited (SSL) and Computer Weekly IT salary survey reveals that growth in permanent jobs is being led by an upturn in demand for developers, with 5.1% more jobs advertised in the fourth quarter than in the third.
But prospects are not as good elsewhere. Vacancies in support roles have dropped, with network support down 14.4% and technical support down 1%.
The number of contract vacancies in the final quarter of 2009 fell 6% compared with the previous quarter's rapid rise in contract jobs. Despite the reversal as companies cut costs, the fourth quarter figures were still 18% up on the second quarter, showing that not all gains in the third quarter were lost.
Contract rates fell 2.2% from the third quarter of 2009, while advertised salaries were up only 0.9% on the previous quarter and 0.1% on the previous year.
Although pay restraint has been the order of the day in many organisations, there seems to be some indication that the climate is becoming more positive, says George Molyneaux, research director at SSL.
But he points out that the rise in sararies is an average figure, with the survey showing wide variations according to job function, region, business sector and experience.
For example, salaries offered for developers in finance with experience in C# and .Net rose 5.4%, while salaries for visual basic developers working in software houses went down 1.9%.
Salaries for the past 18 months have mostly been in decline, says Molyneaux, but the latest quarter shows they may have bottomed out.