IT professionals have seen their salaries rise by as much as 23%, as the recovery in the jobs market continues, research from the Association of Technology Staffing Companies has revealed.
Average salaries have risen by 3% over the past year, but support managers have received increases of 23%, systems administrators 17% and systems analysts 16%, according to the iProfile survey of 5,000 IT professionals.
The rising salaries provide further confirmation that demand for IT staff with project tmanagement skills is continuing to grow as organisations take delayed IT projects off the back burner.
"Lots of people are having a look at mobile communications. A lot of poeople are loking at VoIP, CRM management and real end-to-end use of business intelligence. With Sarbanes-Oxley there are some big compliance issues to deal with," said Richard Banks, business development director at recruitment firm Computer Futures.
Pay rates have risen most steeply in the electronics sector, up an average of 43%, spurred by developments in embedded systems. Spending on compliance projects has driven salaries in the health sector up 29% and pharmaceutical sector salaries up 18%.
IT professionals with expertise in communications have seen salaries rise by 14% over the past six months. Salaries for Lotus Notes skills rose 11%, SAP 9% and Linux 7%. On the downside, Java Swing fell by 17%, Corba by 10% and Enterprise Java Beans by 7%, the survey revealed.
The most highly paid technical skills were Mercator, used to interface SAP to legacy systems, with an average salary of £84,000; Broadvision, a web application that averages £76,000; and MPLS, a network protocol that is attracting an average salary of £72,500.
IT directors can expect to earn an average of £68,000 a year, and programme managers £60,000, the survey revealed.
Support jobs command the lowest salaries, with support engineers and desktop support staff earning between £20,000 and £22,000.
Regionally, average salaries rose in four out of the 10 regions monitored by Atsco, with rates up 14% in the North East, 10% in the West Midlands and 8% in Yorkshire and Humberside.
Hourly rates for contractors are also up, with rates for programmers and technical analysts rising 33% between the third and the fourth quarter of 2004.
Skills offering the highest hourly rates were Chordiant at £82 an hour; Quick Basic at £78; and Oracle HR at £77. The biggest rate increases were for Lotus Notes, up 20%; Windows NT, up 20% and GSM, up 14%. Rates for contract SAP staff fell 7%, BEA Weblogic server rates fell 6% and Java Swing rates were down 2%.
Recruitment companies predicted the upward trend would continue throughout the year. "The things that are driving people's IT spend are sensible business drivers, things that can make your business better," said Banks.
What the recruitment companies say
Jan Stevens, corporate services director, DP Connect
"We experienced a growth in demand for both IT contract and permanent staff in the fourth quarter of 2004. We had 19% more permanent roles registered than in the previous quarter and 14% more contract roles. As we approach the end of the first quarter of 2005, the pattern is very similar."
Alison Page, divisional manager, Volt Europe
"We are seeing a hardening of contractor rates, with signs of potential skill shortages. It is expected that contractor rates overall will see a small increase in 2005 of an average of 5.5%. Key skill areas for 2005 are Sarbanes-Oxley, Basel 2, middleware technologies, Sans, security, risk, C#, J2EE and .net."
Louise Smith, managing director, JM
"We have seen very different demand across the industry sectors that we work across. The consultancies and systems integrators continued hiring at an aggressive rate while the investment banks slowed down, largely due to poor third quarter results. That demand subsequently increased in Q1 2005."