Recruitment predictions suggest IT market is still stable

Despite doomsayers predicting the UK is in the midst of, or at least heading for, another skills shortage or recruitment freeze, research published today paints a slightly brighter picture, suggesting that companies expect to add to their IT workforce between now and 2009.

The IT labour market was reasonably stable last year, with marginal decreases in staff turnover and shortage levels, according to the National Computing Centre's (NCC) Benchmark of IT Salaries and Employment Trends 2007.

Almost half (48 per cent) of those surveyed anticipated that IT departments will grow in the next two years, compared with just 41 per cent who felt as optimistic in 2006.

Most of the growth will manifest itself in systems development, with this area demonstrating the highest rate of expansion.

There will also be a high demand for people with browser-based skills and technologies like Microsoft .NET, Java and SharePoint.

Employers will also be battling to ramp up the number of staff they have with Oracle and SAP skills, although they have to be mindful that those possessing these traits often demand higher-than-average pay packets.

"Interestingly, soft skills have not been explicitly identified as in demand," said Stefan Foster, managing director at the NCC.

"There has been much industry talk about the rounded IT professional having both technical, soft and entrepreneurial skills, but other than project management skills, our survey reveals that technical skills requirements still come first."

Things are also looking up salary-wise for IT workers across the board, with an average increase of 3.6 per cent being reported for last year.

This means that the average IT manager can expect to bring home the bacon to tune of 46,515, while a graduate systems development trainee is looking at earning 17,888 a year.

Regionally, however, those working in the Greater London area tend to receive a healthier IT-related income than their counterparts in the north of England, Scotland or Wales, with a Scottish IT manager taking home just under 3,000 less than the average.

"Although there are fundamental changes in the way IT is delivered, the IT profession not only remains stable but is evolving to meet changing business demands," said Foster.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.