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Demand for IT Workers Outstrips Supply for First Time Since 2008

Demand for IT skills has exceeded supply for the first time since the end of 2008, according to e-skills UK's latest jobs report.

The sector skills council's e-skills Bulletin showed that in the third quarter of 2010, there were more positions being advertised than there were 'ready candidates' in the labour market. The growth was mainly seen in the software houses, and in firms operating in the financial, retail and media sectors.

Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK, said: "While this is good news for IT professionals seeking employment in the sector, the drop in the number of ready candidates with the required set of skills may start to become a problem for recruiters.

The report found that the number of advertised vacancies for ICT workers rose for the fifth consecutive quarter to 101,000 positions. In contrast, the number of IT workers (in or out of employment) actively looking for jobs had declined to approximately 100,000.

Other positive indicators in the report included the fact that the unemployment rate for IT workers had fallen to 3.1 percent, a far smaller percentage compared to 8.3 percent of the workforce as a whole.

In addition, there was a continued fall in the number of Job Seekers Allowance claimants looking for IT positions, to 29,000 people.

In terms of the jobs being advertised, e-skills noted a large, short-term increase in the number of adverts for contract web designers and operation analysts (with advertised pay rates up more than 10 percent), and permanent senior systems administrators and MIS/IT managers, whose salaries rose by nine percent and seven percent, respectively.

On a longer-term basis (over three or more quarters), there was an increase in demand for contract project managers, network support engineers and network analysts, and for permanent business analysts, software engineers, systems programmers and network managers.

E-skills said that the longer term increases in demand also indicated that contractors with skills and experience in .NET and C# would be in a strong position to negotiate pay rises, as well as permanent staff with skills in C#, Swing, Sybase, .NET, ASP, Crystal Reports, Embedded, J2EE, Java or Unix.

However, the news was not all good for IT workers currently in employment. The report found that the amount of training for ICT staff had fallen to 23 percent, with the figure for workers in the ICT industry still lower at 20 percent. Both rates are lower than the UK average of 26 percent.

"It is also a concern to see the latest figures showing a continued decline in training being delivered to ICT staff in work, and we are working closely with employers to reverse this by encouraging continued investment in workforce skills development," said Price.

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