Pay rates for IT professionals stabilised last year after seven months of fluctuating growth, the latest iProfile/Atsco quarterly skills survey has revealed.
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The average salary for permanent staff rose to £34,375, and average rates for contractors remained steady at £40 an hour, according to the survey of 5,000 IT professionals.
“Permanent IT staff have seen a marginal increase in pay rates over the past year and are now earning 7% more than they were at the start of 2002,” said Ann Swain, chief executive of the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (Atsco).
Employment prospects still appear to be good, with the proportion of IT staff out of work running at 9% – unemployment rates of 12% were reported in the final quarter of 2004.
Recruitment agencies said that although pay rates remained relatively level during 2005, demand for business analysts, system testers and project managers was increasing.
Demand for developers with skills in Java, .net and networking skills such as Cisco, were particularly strong, said recruitment firm Spring Group.
“We saw a definite increase in employer confidence in the past year which resulted in a marked uplift in the demand for many IT skills across both the permanent and contract sectors,” said Stephanie Elliot, managing director of staffing firm Volt Europe.
Atsco predicted that the jobs market would continue to grow at a similar rate in 2006, with skills such as Java, C# and .net being heavily in demand.
Rising demand will mean that employers will have to pay higher salaries and be prepared to cross-train candidates with business knowledge who may lack the exact technical skills, said Elliot.