Pay for web developers has jumped 26% over the past year, driven by the online social networking phenomenon and the ongoing e-commerce boom, according to the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (ATSCo).
Web developers are now among the most sought-after IT professionals in the UK, despite seeing demand for their skills collapse in the dotcom crash. ATSCo said the average hourly rate for web developers is now £29, up from £23 this time last year.
Several Web 2.0 acquisitions in the past 12 months cemented pay rises for web professionals, it said. These included Google's purchase of YouTube for £883m and CBS which acquired social music site Last FM for £140m.
ATSCo CEO Ann Swain said, "The proliferation of social networking sites, and the increasing amount of time people are spending online has lead to a boom in demand for online content from advertisers looking to target these audiences."
Swain said that IT spending by UK retailers is currently outpacing IT investment by all other sectors of the economy, with companies such as Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser and Debenhams all investing heavily in new and improved e-commerce platforms during the past 12 months.
She said websites have the potential to offer a much more sophisticated user experience than the plain-text sites of the 1990s. "It was relatively easy to publish a decent website back then, but now it is difficult without expert programming skills."
ATSCo said there is now a shortage of web developers because fewer IT graduates sought web skills after the dotcom crash. This will continue to underpin wage rates.
Poaching is sometimes required to get the right skills, Swain said. Employees have seen their share options become hugely valuable and will only move for big money increases, she added.