Job prospects remain firm

Employers are seeking staff with e-commerce and intranet skills despite the economic slowdown.

Employers are seeking staff with e-commerce and intranet skills despite the economic slowdown.

Demand for staff with Java and XML is still high as businesses refocus on core IT projects, a survey by the National Computing Centre of nearly 300 IT directors has shown.

About 60% of employers will need to take on staff with new IT skills in the next 12 months, the survey shows. Although Internet and intranet skills head the shopping list for employers, Windows 2000, database and networking and communications skills are also sought after.

Employers expect demand for new IT staff to grow by about 12% over the next two years, the survey shows - slightly less than the 17% they expected last year.

Systems developers will be in greatest demand, followed by technical support and user support staff. But there has been a sharp decline in demand for operations staff.

The ratio of contractors to permanent staff has fallen from almost 16% a year ago to just over 9%, a level last seen in the early 1990s .

Salaries have risen by an average of 4.9%, compared to 5.2% last year. IT companies, services and finance companies offered the largest rises, with health and education the lowest.

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