Permanent IT staff saw a huge leap in demand last month, taking them to the highest level by far since August 1998.
Demand for contract staff also rose for the second month running after an unprecedented six months of decline in the second half of last year, according to the monthly survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.
Its permanent IT staff demand index has been up and down around 60 for the past seven months but jumped 14% to 68 in February, the biggest increase for two years. The index is still some way below its starting point of 86 in October 1997, but the new rise is an encouraging sign after an overall fall from then until the end of last year.
February was also good news for contract staff. The key point in the index is 50 - points below this mean decline in demand - and the IT contractor index, which also touched 80 when the survey began, was below 50 throughout the second half of last year.
The contractor index rose to 53 in January and maintained this growth position last month.