The government body's latest quarterly review of the information and communications technologies (ICT) labour market shows that despite its previous 'light at the end of the tunnel' forecast the market hasn't improved. The number of positions at IT firms continued to decline from June to August, as did IT positions across all sectors. In addition to data from e-skills UK's survey of surveys this is shown by a decline in the overall number of vacancies advertised. The demand for IT pros has now fallen beneath that of catering workers, according to figures drawn from the Reed Recruitment Index. However, there is some good news. Apart from saying how most employers will welcome an easing of the IT skills shortage, e-skills UK points to research predicting IT spending growth of 4 percent this year and 6.3 percent over 2003. Areas of growth -- and where IT pros might do well to re-skill -- include programming skills for Web services and application integration, as well as specific areas such as Oracle 11i, CCIE, SQL Server, XML, J2EE, Enterprise JavaBeans and Sybase. The report ends: "The next area of shortage will be for software professionals who can understand the complexity of Web services architecture which, so far, remains a little known quantity."