Consultants' pay drops £4k

Pay for many IT jobs is falling as the IT industry recession starts to bite.

Pay for many IT jobs is falling as the IT industry recession starts to bite.

Average salaries for permanent IT staff rose by an average of 2.9% in the 12 months to October, the lowest increase since 1999.

But many salaries are falling. IT consultants have been hit the hardest, with average rates of pay falling from £72,000 to £68,000, the latest SSP/Computer Weekly salary survey reveals.

The findings reflect a sharp downturn in the fortune of major IT suppliers, which are cutting costs and shedding staff, following a sharp decline in orders.

Average salaries on offer for database controllers have fallen by 11% over the past 12 months. Salaries for communications and networking consultants have also fallen by an average of 5%. Salaries for IT managers and PC support analysts are down by 4%.

Pay for other IT professionals has risen by less than the annual pay rises offered in previous years. Systems architects have benefited the most with salary rises of 6%, but for programmers and analysts, pay rises average between 1% and 2%.

Unix has taken over as the skill most in demand over the past three months, the first time it has reached the top of Computer Weekly/SSP's most sought after skills list since 1997.

Sun's version of Unix, Solaris, is in heaviest demand, largely driven by the finance sector, which accounts for a quarter of the demand. Hewlett-Packard's version, HP-UX features in twice as many job advertisements as it did a year ago.

C++ is also proving popular with employers, and features among the top five skills in every user sector except retail and the public sector.

Internet skills are continuing to lose ground to client/ server skills as employers re-think their plans for e-business. The number of ads for Java skills in the press and on the Internet has fallen. HTML has dropped out of the top 10 as focus shifts on to Internet data language XML.

Windows NT has risen two places in the skills league table over the past 12 months and Windows 2000 has shown a six-fold increase in demand.

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