IT recruitment loses momentum, but salaries rise

Candidate shortage drives headhunting for highly skilled candidates.

The IT jobs market in the UK experienced a slowdown in the third quarter, with recruitment for new roles "noticeably" quieter in September, according to latest research.

This is because many projects were signed in the first quarter of 2010, followed by staffing activity on the following quarter. Those projects reached critical mass in terms of staff requirements on Q3, triggering the reduced hiring activity, according to a market update by recruitment firm Robert Walters.

"Newly appointed senior IT professionals were keen to ensure any future hiring was business-critical given the high levels of recruitment so far this year. Despite recruitment volumes generally continuing at the same level, firms took a more thoughtful approach to the process which meant a slower pace than previous quarters," said Jason Addicott, associate director for the IT division at the recruiter.

Sluggish recruitment in Q3 meant that the firm had to approach senior technology professionals who were not necessarily looking to move. As a consequence, the firm observed a hike in permanent salaries and contract rates.

Addicott's prediction is that recruitment levels will be "fairly buoyant" in the last quarter of 2010, though skill shortages are expected to continue.

"Some employers are already talking of hiring strategies for quarter one 2011. The 2012 Olympics is likely to have a positive impact on the market, with a number of projects related to the Games being scoped in quarter four," he adds.

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