Growth in demand for permanent and contract IT staff is levelling off but is still holding at its highest point for almost two years, according to the latest monthly survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.
The permanent staff index rose slightly from 68 to 69 while the contractor index stayed at 57. Both were well above 50, the point at which demand growth reverses into decline.
The permanent staff index showed spectacular growth in February but has stayed virtually constant since then. The contractor index saw good growth from January to April but has stayed level in the past two months.
The steadier growth could reflect that resignation rates among IT staff are at their lowest for six years, reaching 7.6% in the past six months monitored by research firm Computer Economics.
General e-commerce and Web development experience, plus specific related skills such as Java and HTML, are most in demand. Telecommunication skills are also sought.
The demand for Web development skills is being fuelled by growing sophistication, according to Martin Jones, director of training firm Tech Connect.
"It's no longer just about designing Web pages but about integrating Web sites with internal systems and databases," he says. "We are also seeing more personalisation as sites focus on the needs of individual customers."
Jones advises people to get a solid background in all areas of the Internet before specialising.
"You should look to have a good understanding of e-commerce, databases and security as well as Web design products," he says.
He adds that Web development is bringing more women into IT: Tech Connect is finding that people on its Web courses are split almost evenly between men and women.