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Increase in contract jobs may herald IT recovery

Mike Simons
Demand for contract IT staff has risen for the fourth consecutive quarter, raising hopes for a wider recovery in the IT jobs market next year, the latest Computer Weekly/SSL jobs market survey has revealed.

The number of advertised vacancies for contractors reached its highest level since early 2002 and is up by 20% on the third quarter last year.

Employers have increased their recruitment budgets and are placing more advertisements in newspapers and magazines.

This upturn is unlikely to lead to skills shortages or a rapid upward pressure on IT salaries, said Anthony Miller, an analyst at Ovum Holway

"It is still a buyers' market and there are still plenty of unemployed IT contractors," said Miller. "IT directors need to look after key staff on key projects, but there is no need to take special action."

SSL managing director George Molyneaux said, "Historically, when we came out of a recession, the increase in contract staff was followed by an increase in permanent jobs over the next 18 months."

But the growth in outsourcing over the past five years will mean that the recovery is unlikely to be as rapid as that seen after the IT downturn of the early 1990s.

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