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Light at end of the tunnel switched back on for IT contractors

Perms in doldrums (mostly)

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The UK IT jobs market is still suffering from the lingering economic slowdown, with advertised vacancies falling seven per cent quarter on quarter in the period of July to September 2003, according to a CWJobs study.

However, the study from CWJobs suggests that the light at the end of the tunnel has at least been switched back on. The future looks especially bright for IT contractors where the number of available positions was found to growing steadily for the third successive quarter due primarily to increasing demand in the finance and media sectors.

The Finance sector advertised 25 per cent more vacancies for IT contractors in the third quarter of the year than in the previous quarter and there were seven per cent more contract positions open in the media sector.

Across the country ,permanent IT vacancies were down 10 per cent, which led to the overall downturn in jobs advertised of seven per cent, CWJobs UK Quarterly IT Skills Index found. Inner London was the only region that saw an increase in demand for permanent staff with a very modest 1 per cent rise.

Compared to Q2 2002, there were 44 per cent fewer permanent IT jobs advertised in Q3 2003, which, according to the report, highlights that there is still a long way to go before the permanent jobs market stabilises.

Midlands-based IT staff had the most to celebrate, because the region saw the biggest increase in IT contract jobs: West Midlands saw a 24 per cent rise while in the East Midlands the increase was 19 per cent.

Inner London experienced a hike in demand of 18 per cent for IT contractors, while in outer London the figure was a more modest 8 per cent.

However, demand for contract jobs fell by varying degrees in all other regions: in southern England it dropped six per cent; in the North West the decrease was 10 per cent; in the North East it fell two per cent; Scotland and Northern Ireland saw drops of 18 per cent.

SQL, Oracle & Unix were identified as the most sought after IT skills for permanent staff, while SQL, Oracle and Office topped the list of skills demanded for contactors. ®

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