A surge in demand for web skills, driven by the creation of second-generation websites such as 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 earning as much as £50,000 a year.
Research by Skills Market and the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (Atsco), shows that web developers are now some of the most sought after IT professionals in the UK.
Atsco said that a slowdown in the number of graduates going into the IT profession was leading to a bidding war for talent.
"We are now facing a skills crisis similar to the late 1990s," said Atsco chief executive Ann Swain. "Back then, it seemed that 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."
Over the past 12 months, salaries for experienced Enterprise Java Beans developers have jumped by 38%, from £36,250 to £50,000. Experienced DCom developers have seen their salaries rise by 41%, from £37,000 to £52,250.
The upturn follows growing interest from businesses in the next generation of the internet, Web 2.0, which is spurring organisations 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 also upgrading their websites to meet an expected upsurge in demand in the run-up to Christmas.
Online sales are forecast to rise by 40% this year, from £5bn to £7bn, according to industry projections.
"As broadband internet connections become more widespread, running programs from browsers becomes a possibility," said Swain. "A lot of websites are being overhauled to offer much more interactive content, which is stoking demand for web skills."
The rising demand has led to a bidding war as companies vie for skilled developers. Atsco said that poaching was on the increase following a decline in people entering the profession from university.
The number of full-time undergraduates studying computer science has fallen by 16%, from 85,535 in 2002/03 to 73,515 in 2004/05.
Atsco predicted that demand for IT skills would continue to grow in 2007, driven by software suppliers upgrading products for Windows Vista and from the 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.