IT professionals with certain skills can virtually name their price, according to a UK recruitment consultant.
A shortage of particular skills in the industry over the past 12 months has lead to professionals demanding fees well in excess of other UK employees.
Rob Hart, a consultant at Nationwide Recruitment Consultants, said professionals whose skills are in short supply are increasingly sticking to contract work rather than taking up permanent positions: "We have had a permanent position for an RPG programmer vacant for months. There has been no interest in it. People know that with these skills they will earn far more on contract work," he said.
Hart added that because of the shortages, 26- and 27- year-old IT professionals with the right skills were earning fees of at least #2,000 a week for contract work.
"I know of some IT professionals with no commitments such as mortgages who just go from contract to contract," said Hart.
He added that Oracle and Sybase developers are currently in great demand.
Hart's remarks reinforce a US survey which found that IT professionals were the highest paid workers in the US in the first half of the 1990s.
The survey, by American Electronic the Association, revealed that US IT employees were paid 70% more than the private-sector average in 1995 and received average pay rises of more than 10% between 1990 and 1995.
Despite employment in the IT sector falling almost 10% to 1.9 million people in the five-year period, the number of jobs in telecommunications and computer-related services in the US rose by 300,000, the report said.
Average wages in 1995 were $47,000, compared to $27,000 in other sectors.
The high-tech aggregate payroll surged 30% to $189 billion in the period.
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