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The government is cutting back on IT recruitment and so are communications companies, but job prospects across the IT industry as a whole rose on the back of a recruitment boom in software houses, says a report from CWJobs.

Adverts for permanent IT jobs in the public sector are down 40 per cent since last year as part of the government's commitment to shave £1.4bn off its IT spend in the next four years. But growth in software houses and consultancies kept recruitment buoyant with their ads for permanent jobs up 18.8 per cent compared to this time last year.

Shops are keen to hire IT talent too: IT jobs in the retail sector are up 21 per cent this year and ads for retail contract work up 24.4 percent. Job prospects in the financial sector - the second biggest recruiter of UK techies - remained steady, with the number of jobs posted rising slightly by 3.9 per cent and contract work up 16.5 per cent this year.

The number of IT jobs on offer has risen every quarter for the past nine in a row, but growth slowed to 1 per cent in the last quarter.

The CWJobs survey also found that SQL, C and C# were still the languages most in demand, with notable surge in demand for Agile coders in the past year:

IT jobs advertised in 2011 by skill, credit CW jobs

With contract work on the up, a clear takeaway from the findings is that IT professionals willing to pull off short-term gigs should do well.

Richard Nott, website director at CWJobs, comments: “This increase in demand is likely to be a result of the higher levels of outsourcing being made by companies in an effort to reduce costs. It will open up a number of opportunities for IT pros who are flexible enough to migrate from in-house to tech companies in response to this trend.” ®

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