Demand for IT staff in the UK has fallen for the first time in 18 months as companies cut back on IT spend, according to the latest e-Skills UK figures on the tech job market.
Ads for IT staff fell by 5 percent during the first quarter of 2005 and fewer employers reported having IT vacancies or plans to take on staff during the next six months.
The dip comes after a revival in the IT job market that has seen five quarters of consecutive growth in demand for staff and there appears to be the return of a buyers' market with employers having little difficulty retaining and recruiting IT staff.
IT unemployment rates also rose during the first quarter of the year to 3.7 percent for those working in the IT industry and 2.7 percent for those tech staff working in other vertical sectors — although that remains below the overall UK unemployment rate of 4.8 percent.
But there are still certain areas of IT skills shortages despite this return to a buyers' market. Skills still in demand by employers are systems developers and programmers, technical support staff, IT managers and software engineers.
New figures from e-Skills UK show that the average gross weekly earnings for IT professionals is £623 per week — equivalent to an annual salary of around £32,400 — but female full-time IT staff still earn an average of £77 per week less than their male colleagues.
A regional snapshot of IT wages across the UK reveals, not surprisingly, that Londoners have the highest average earnings at £747 per week compared to the northeast, Northern Ireland and Wales where tech staff get less than £500 per week.