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Demand for UK IT staff will grow 12 per cent over the next two years, according to a National Computing Centre (NCC) survey. Demand for development and support staff will be even greater - with 15 per cent growth over the same period

To be precise, this "demand" is actually an estimate of the future requirements of 490 organisations polled by the NCC. And figures are down slightly on last year - when growth forecasts were pegged at 13 per cent of IT staff in general, and 17 per cent for development and support staff in particular.

The use of contractors is continuing to fall from its peak immediately prior to the start of the new millennium. The overall ratio of contractopr staff in-post fell this year from 16 per cent to nine per cent - around the same level as contractor activity in the early 1990s.

At the same time the "perceived shortage" of IT development and support staff fell from 8.3 per cent of staff in-post last year to 6.3 per cent this year.
According to the NCC, this "goes hand in hand with the dip in demand and signals that the specific skills shortage is being tackled".

Nevertheless, considering the current state of play of the UK economy, the figures should be encouraging for anyone who works in IT.

So what are the hot skills? Top of the employers' wishlist are those for Internet or intranet applications and e-commerce. Specific Internet and intranet technologies, notably Java and XML, were cited by a large number of respondents. Significant numbers of respondents are looking for skills in Windows 2000.

The findings form part of the NCC's twentieth national survey of UK IT salaries and issues. ®

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