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Web developer pay rockets by 26 per cent

A shortage of Web 2.0-savvy IT graduates contributes to soaring salaries.

Web developer pay scales have rocketed by more than a quarter (26 per cent) in the last year, amid increasing demand for programmers schooled in Web 2.0 technologies, according to the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (ATSCo).

Web developers are now among the most sought-after IT professionals in the UK, with the average hourly rate being 29, up from 23 this time last year.

A spate of recent high profile Web 2.0 acquisitions - exemplified by Google's purchase of YouTube - has further cemented pay rises for professionals skilled in web technologies.

"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," said Ann Swain, ATSCo's chief executive.

"Websites now offer a potentially much more sophisticated user experience than the plain text sites around in the nineties. It was relatively easy to publish a decent website back then, but now it's difficult without expert programming skills."

Swain claims that with fewer IT graduates acquiring web skills after the dotcom crash, pay rates are likely to continue their upward trend.

"Companies are being forced to offer large incentives to get people onboard because with so few skilled IT graduates entering the marketplace, poaching from rivals is becoming a necessity," she said.

"But employees in these companies have seen their share options become hugely valuable and will only move for big money increases."

Alex Charles, founder and product director of recruitment website SkillsMarket said that it is not only websites that are fuelling demand for skilled developers.

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