Demand for IT staff remains constant

The number of companies reporting a shortage of IT skills is remaining constant so far this year but is still sharply down on a year ago

Demand for IT skills among UK companies remained constant throughout the first half of 2002, according to research published recently by recruitment firm Reed -- but is still half the level it was at this time last year.

IT remained one of the top five occupations in demand, with 8 percent of all organisations that reported skill shortages expressing a need for suitably skilled IT staff. This is the same as the first quarter's predictions, but a steep decline of 9 percent on the same period last year.

John Norman at Executive Recruitment Services said there is still demand for people with Java and C++ skills, but added that at least once a week he sees "desperate people" who have obviously been out of work for some time. "They often have legacy skills such as Cobol or mainframe which are not required so much, said Norman. "Unfortunately they can become aggressive, which will not help." Retraining is an expensive but necessary solution for these people.

As ZDNet UK reported recently, the government has dropped C++, Java and Visual Basic from its Skills Shortage list after lobbying from the Professional Contractors Group.

On the contracting side Norman said that rates are still down from £40 an hour to £20 an hour. He also said that many older candidates go for contracting positions as they have a better chance than if they went for permanent positions.

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