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Start-ups create IT salary hotspot in Cambridge

Cambridge has become a hotspot for IT professionals as competition among rapidly expanding high-tech companies push up salaries for the most in-demand skills.

Brett Budden, director of permanent recruitment at Computer People, said, "The market in Cambridge has absolutely taken off."

Annie Brooking, chief executive at local employer Astron Clinica, said, "With a start-up company, you have to be in a place where there is a diverse pool of high-quality talent, and that exists in Cambridge."

The proportion of companies in the East of England that have hired people with IT skills over the past year is 25%, according to research by Computer People.

Astron Clinica, which builds handheld medical scanners, has tripled the number of salaried computer scientists it employs over the past two years.

When the company recruited its most recent computer scientist last month, it had to pay a salary 25% greater than it would have done for someone with the same skills two years ago.

Brooking said, "We do find it a bit of a struggle to recruit people of the calibre we need."

Astron Clinica uses Microsoft .net to develop its software. Staff also need SQL Server skills because the applications are built on the Microsoft database.

The demand for new IT people in the East of England is only exceeded by companies based in Scotland and the North East. Some 26% of Scottish companies and 27% of firms in the North East recruited IT people over the past year.

SQL Server and .net are not the only skills in demand with employers. Salaries paid for enterprise software skills, such as SAP and Oracle, have also soared. Budden said, "There is almost no point advertising an SAP job at the moment."


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