IT salaries hit the floor, bounce back

Salaries in the IT sector hit rock bottom in 2002, but a recent survey indicates they will be on their way up by the end of this year
Written by Andy McCue, Contributor

IT recruitment and salaries in the UK have hit the bottom and are expected to show signs of recovery towards the end of the year, according to a new survey.

The 2003 salary survey from recruitment company Robert Walters is based on figures from the company's IT recruitment practices in London, the City and Thames Valley.

Most salary levels are the same as for 2002, although those for top level technology staff have shown a decline, with London-based IT directors commanding £55,000 to £85,000 a year compared to £70,000 to £100,000 last year.

Steve Garner, team leader of the IT commerce business at Robert Walters, said levels hit rock bottom last year but there are signs IT activity is picking up again.

"Most areas hit bottom last year and couldn't go any lower. But in the last year in some areas the rates have fallen, and in the higher brackets by as much as 20 per cent. But we have seen the market start to move from April and towards the back-end of the year we expect to see a slight increase, though not to the levels of the late 1990s."

IT managers can expect to earn £45,000 to £75,000, senior C++ developers £45,000 to £60,000 and Oracle and Sybase database administrators £30,000 to £55,000, according to the survey.

SQL, Unix and C++ developers are still the top three areas of demand from businesses, and database migrations in the City are leading to more opportunities for developers, said Garner.

"The big one from the City is Oracle, if the rumours are true that many of the banks are migrating over from Sybase to Oracle."

Other indications that companies will be picking up IT projects again towards the end of the year are the need for platform upgrades and the development of PDA and mobile initiatives.

He said: "Windows XP looks to be big for the next 18 months and there are a lot of projects planned. There is also a massive drive towards PDAs and mobile devices. It is the must-have item, so application developers and the .Net people look set to profit from that."

The company said it has also seen a trend for high quality IT candidates looking outside London towards the high-tech Thames Valley area, which is not surprising given that chief technical officers in the region can command up to £110,000.

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