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The UK IT contracting market is enjoying a boom last seen in the heady days of desperate Y2K projects. The finance market, with upgrades needed to ensure compliance with new regulations, has helped push up demand.

The number of IT contractor posts jumped from 16,518 in Q1 04 to 29,898 in Q3, according to the Computer Weekly/SSL quarterly survey of appointments data and trends.

The finance sector saw advertised contractor posts increase by 81 per cent, fuelled by demand for staff to ensure systems are fully compliant with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act - changes to US accounting practise designed to prevent the high profile fraud cases of recent years.

Two swallows do not a summer make, but there are signs that the IT jobs market is improving. Results from recruitment firm Harvey Nash last week revealed turnover was up over 20 per cent. Sales in the UK and US did even better - turnover in these two markets was up 41 per cent.

Ian Kirkpatrick, chairman of Harvey Nash, told the Evening Standard: "The market for our services has continued to improve with demand for IT consultants increasing across the world." Back in July the Register reported a survey from Reed Recruitment predicting two thirds of firms would be taking on more IT staff in the next few months and 94 per cent of surveyed firms expecting to take on staff in the third quarter. In September we reported growing demand for contractors within the public sector.

What do you think? Has the jobs market really turned the corner? Let us know at the usual address. ®

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