Skills shortage in IT leads to rise in pay and jobs despite slowdown

Despite the economic downturn, IT departments still need more staff, and salaries for mid-level technicians are rising as the perennial skills shortage continues to bite.

Nearly half (49 per cent) of the IT directors surveyed by ReThink Recruitment say they will be increasing employee numbers over the coming 12 months, and just 13 per cent anticipate having to lose staff. More than two-thirds (69 per cent) are also looking to either maintain or increase the number of contractors they employ.

IT departments are not only recruiting more staff, but are offering better wages. Some 55 per cent of IT directors expect permanent salaries to rise in the next year, and 22 per cent predict contractors' rates will also go up.

The problem is that there are not enough professional skills to go around. Despite the shortages and the rising wages, the number of people coming into the IT industry continues to decline – the number of applicants for technology degrees is down by 48 per cent since 2001. Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of IT directors are concerned about attracting sufficiently high calibre candidates, and more than four-fifths (81 per cent) are worried about retaining existing staff, according to the survey.

Michael Bennett, director of ReThink Recruitment, said: "During the last downturn, we had reports of rates for contractors being slashed by major banks, but more than four times as many IT directors think rates will rise than fall, which shows that skills shortages are still very much an issue."

The issue is at its most pronounced at the mid-level. Pay rises for support and technical staff are the highest in the sector, jumping 13 per cent in the last year, according to Income Data Services (IDS). Network and systems engineers are also in demand and salaries are up 9.5 per cent on average.

Ken Mulkearn, from IDS, said: "The sizeable pay increases we are seeing in mid-level IT support and technical roles is being driven largely by acute skills shortages. As the UK IT sector continues to specialise increasingly in more high-end technical work, and more entry-level jobs are outsourced overseas, there are fewer opportunities for graduates and others with less experience to get a foot on the first rung of the career ladder."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there