The decline in the IT jobs market looks as though it might be beginning to level out.
The past quarter has seen an easing off in the fall of vacancies in London, which has previously borne the brunt of the recruitment downturn because of its exposure to finance.
Research for Computer Weekly by Salary Services Limited showed the number of vacancies fell by 1.9% in inner London and 7.6% in outer London between March and July this year. This is compared with a 68% fall in inner London's IT vacancies in the six months to March.
Software houses and consultancies are IT's biggest recruiters, accounting for 58.7% of all job advertising. The rate of decline in this sector is starting to slow, with a fall of 6.1% quarter on quarter. Compared with the last quarter of 2008, when the number of vacancies fell 24%, things appear to be levelling out a little - although to say there are green shoots of recovery would probably be going too far.
Overall, technology jobs advertising is down 10%, an improvement on the peak decline rate of 26% last winter. Contractors are often still bearing the brunt of any cutbacks, with companies keen to keep in-house experience and skills.
In a further sign of slight improvement, the demand for contractors in the finance sector rose 0.5% since the start of 2009. But this could be due to big finance companies flying in cheaper consultants from countries such as India, with reports surfacing of UK contractors having to accept 15% pay cuts as a result.
While the IT jobs downturn may be showing signs of easing in London, the rest of the UK is still experiencing big drops. Jobs are down by 21.9% in the West Midlands, 10.9% in the South of England and 10.2% in Scotland and Northern Ireland. While it may be heartening to see a couple of signs that are more positive, there is a long way to go yet.