Doom laden surveys of printed advertisements provide a misleading view of the IT jobs market, according to recruitment experts.
The number of computing related job advertisements in trade and national publications in the second quarter of this year dropped by 41 per cent compared with the same period in 1998, figures from MMS Recruitment show.
However, MMS found that advertised salaries rose by 6.9 per cent, supporting data from other researchers which suggests IT salaries are rising. This would be unlikely in a market meltdown.
Computer Economics, which regularly surveys 550 of the country’s largest IT shops, expects these slight rises to continue over the next 12 months, although marketing executive Peter Howes said the percentage of firms recruiting this year fell from 92.9 per cent to 91.4 per cent.
"Supply and demand have evened out," said Peter Searle, managing director at recruitment consultancy Computer People.
He said the decrease in print advertising was partly due to fewer ‘distress purchases’, when staff cannot be found through cheaper methods such as word of mouth, and partly due to the growth of the Web for recruitment.
Ben Bramley-Brett, director at recruiter Best, said his firm placed more permanent staff in the second quarter than during the same period in 1998, although contractor jobs were slightly down.
"There is far less activity in the press," said Bramley-Brett. "Contracting is now very much Internet based."
Some publishers of printed job advertisements, including VNU, publisher of Computing, have launched job listing Web sites. They have joined start-ups in using the Net for advertising.
Internet based recruitment is booming. The three largest sites held 34,000 posts in February but now hold 50,000, according to the Information Research Network.
VNU’s recruitment Web site is at www.jobworld.co.uk
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