IT contractor vacancies rise 18% in retail sector

IT contractor vacancies have risen 18% in the retail sector over the past month, according to research.

IT contractor vacancies have risen 18% in the retail sector over the past month, according to research.

According to the latest report by IT recruitment firm Computer People, part of the Adecco Group, contractor roles within the retail sector have risen 18% within a month. Permanent roles in the sector also increased 7%.

"The retail sector is investing in technology to diversify its service offering as consumer spending patterns continue to shift online," said Sid Barnes, executive director at Computer People.

Other recruitment firms have reported increased demand in the retail sector. ReThink Recruitment, received 564 requests for candidates with e-commerce skills in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to 218 in the same quarter in 2009 - an increase of 158% year-on-year.

According to the latest annual IT in Retail report by Martec International, sponsored by BT Expedite, UK retailers plan to spend almost a quarter of IT budgets on implementing new technologies to improving e-commerce and mobile commerce platforms.

In other sectors, Computer People research showed vacancies in the public sector fell 8% with jobs in banking, insurance and finance also falling 0.1%. Telecoms vacancies fell 0.5% while opportunities in the media sector grew by 5%.

The recruitment firm's research shows IT salaries increased 6% year-on-year. Barnes expects IT professionals' salaries to continue increasing, reflecting strategic IT spending.

"The shift from the short-term tactical approach towards a more strategic long term focus means we expect to see continued demand for IT directors and salaries to reflect this," said Barnes.

He also predicts increased demand for business intelligence (BI), business analysis and project management roles driven by internal efficiency measures.

"We're continuing to see IT departments in many organisations work on internal process improvement. Once better efficiency has been delivered we anticipate focus to shift to implementing new internal procedures and we'll be seeing a continued rise in vacancies for business intelligence professionals, business analysts and project managers," he said.

A recent survey of 228 UK IT professionals by The IT Job Board showed 44% had a 10% pay rise in 2011. Over half (55%) were hopeful of receiving a rise in 2011 and 61% expected a bonus at the end of the year.

Alexandra Farrell, managing director of The IT Job Board, said the UK fell behind higher pay rise percentages in other European countries, such as Germany and the Netherlands.

"UK IT pros are not quite as optimistic about their salary prospects when compared to their European counterparts - and this is probably a result of the long and difficult recession this market has experienced," she said.

Read more on IT jobs and recruitment