Demand for permanent and freelance IT staff is still increasing despite a sizeable drop in IT positions advertised by public sector organisations.
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According to the latest Salary Services Limited (SSL) research, the number of permanent IT jobs advertised in the third quarter of 2011 increased 1% compared to the previous quarter. There was a 4.7% rise in the number of freelance jobs advertised.
The private sector is driving demand as public sector vacancies fell 11.2% in the quarter compared to the previous three months. The number of public sector permanent IT jobs advertised in the quarter was 40.6% lower than the same period in 2010. Public sector freelance IT jobs fell 42.2% in the same period.
Things look set to get worse in the public sector. The National Audit Office (NAO) recently said it is likely government IT will continue to be subject to heavy spending cuts which will inevitably include job losses.
Software houses and consultancies increased demand for permanent IT jobs the most in the last year with an 18.8% increase in vacancies in Q3, compared to the third quarter last year, a total of 44,112 jobs advertised. Retail IT jobs were close behind, with a 14% increase in vacancies during the period, reaching 2,427. In the public sector there were only 605 permanent IT jobs advertised in the quarter.
The retail sector saw the biggest increase in freelance IT vacancies, with 24.4% growth. The software and consultancy sector was close behind with a 23.9% increase. Only 297 freelance IT jobs were advertised in the public sector.
George Molyneux, research director at SSL, said things will get worse in the public sector. "Public sector IT jobs have been steadily declining over the last 18 months and, whilst there were some opportunities for contract staff, they have now disappeared."
Molyneux added that software houses and consultancies are struggling to get the staff they need.
The SSL survey revealed IT salaries increased 1.9% on average in the quarter compared to a year ago.