Web development pay rates surge as Web 2.0 takes off

A surge in demand for web skills, driven by the creation of second generation websites including MySpace and YouTube, has pushed up pay rates for top web developers.

A surge in demand for web skills, driven by the creation of second generation websites including MySpace and YouTube, has pushed up pay rates for top web developers.

Over the past year, salaries for permanent web developers have soared by 27% with some skilled developers earning as much as £50,000 a year.

The latest research by Skills Market/The Association of Technology Staffing Companies shows that web developers are now amongst the most sought after IT professionals in the UK.

But a slowdown in the number of graduates going into the IT profession, is leading to a bidding war for talent, Atsco claims.

“We are now facing a skills crisis similar to the late 1990s. Back then, it seemed every train carriage had at least one 20-year-old reading a Java manual, but the excitement is more muted now and graduates are not flocking to learn web technologies in the numbers they once did,” said Ann Swain, ATSCO chief executive.

Over the past 12 months, salaries for experienced Enterprise JavaBeans developers have jumped by 38% from £36,250 to £50,000. Experienced DECOM developers have seen their salaries jump 41% from £37,000 to £52,250.

The upturn follows growing interest by businesses in the next generation of the internet, Web 2.0, which is spurring organisations to invest in new technologies to upgrade their websites.

The BBC recently revealed plans to rebuild its website around user generated content, including blogs and home videos.

Retailers including Asda and Debenhams are upgrading their websites to meet an expected upsurge in demand in the run upto Christmas. Online sales are expected to increase by 40% this year from £5bn to £7bn, according to industry projections.

“As broadband internet connections become more widespread, running programmes from browsers becomes a possibility. A lot of websites are being overhauled to offer much more interactive content, which is stoking demand for web skills,” said Swain.

The rising demand has led to a bidding war as companies view for skilled developers. Poaching is on the increase following a decline in people entering the profession from university, Atsco claims.

The number of full time undergraduates studying computer science in the UK has fallen 16% from 85,535 in 2002/3 to 73,515 in 2004/5.

ATSCO predicts that demand for IT skills will continue to grown in 2007, driven by demand from software suppliers upgrading products for Windows Vista and from financial services industry.

“Global banks now fully recognise the role of IT in maintaining their competitive edge. The clearest, most stark example of this is their commitment to build a global electronic stock trading platform,” said Swain.

  Q2 05    Q2 06 +% 
 Java  £33,000  £35,000  +6%
 Enterprise JavaBeans  £36,250   £50,000  +38%
 .net   £35,000  £41,250 +18%
 BEA Weblogic  £38,500  £50,000  +30%
 DCOM  £37,000  £52,250  +41%

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