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Slump in demand for IT workers

IT recruiter warns that business is suffering from the slowdown in the tech sector, signalling a tougher market for IT jobseekers
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor

IT recruitment firm MSB International has warned its investors that it is suffering from the slowdown in the technology sector.

In a statement released to the London Stock Market on Wednesday morning, the company said that its business had not performed as well as expected this year, and warned that the unpredictable economic climate means that the worst might not be over.

The London-based firm had been expecting to see more demand for its services in the second quarter of this year, but it has admitted this has not happened. "On the contrary, there had been a slowdown across the technology markets, which the board attributes principally to negative sentiment relating to the current economic climate," MSB said in its trading update.

MSB's warning shows that the global slump in the high-tech sector is cutting deep into the UK jobs market. The firm boasts a prestigious list of blue-chip clients, having found full-time and contract workers for the likes of Ericsson, Computer Associates and Compaq. These firms work in sectors that have seen large drops in spending and serious job cuts, and it is increasingly clear that the contract industry will suffer badly if conditions don't improve soon.

Some corporations are already reducing their IT contractor rates, and experts recently warned that cash-strapped IT firms would cut back on the money they spend on consultants.

MSB told investors that it still had a positive future, saying that "the board of MSB remains confident of MSB's longer-term growth prospects in view of its strategic shift towards focussing on higher-value consulting and resource management services."

MSB's shares plunged by 42 percent or 37p to hit 51.5p in early trading in London, but later recovered slightly to 58p.

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