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Why you should download the Hays IT Employment & Benefits Guide for 2012

Our survey looks at how candidates feel about their present situation, what their outlook for the future is and how their careers have been affected by the downturn. The results and comments gathered have allowed us to draw valuable industry insight, which we are pleased to be able to share with you.

We have explored:

  • Considerations when evaluating a new role
  • Minimum contract term considered acceptable
  • Benefits considered important
  • Employer pension contributions
  • Bonuses and salaries
  • Scope for career progression

We asked a total of 1,029 IT professionals from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, to contribute their views in February 2012. Out of the total number of respondents, 65% (671) were permanently employed, whilst 35% (358) were working in contract positions.

 Give yourself an edge by downloading the our full IT benefits guide as a PDF, including in depth tables of data and analysis.

Introduction - the state of the market

We believe the IT industry in the UK is poised to take advantage of recovering market. Despite the ongoing crisis in the financial services, low interest rates and high unemployment, we believe we’re a long way from doom and gloom in the UK IT industry.

As organisations continue to look for smarter and more cost-effective IT solutions, we have seen the emergence of a number of niche consultancies. Indeed, any reduction in demand for staff as a result of the economic downturn, appears to have been more than compensated for by these specialists.

The war for talent remains strong and there is a large shortage of high quality candidates. To attract top talent in 2012, it will be essential for organisations to run timely recruitment campaigns, make competitive offers and ensure benefits packages are attractive.

Job Seekers – the state of the market for IT recruitment

For high calibre IT professionals, with strong technical backgrounds and business acumen, the market for IT jobs remains balanced in their favour, as companies compete to attract the best talent.

The lack of new entrants into the UK IT jobs market has increased the value placed on those with many years experience but has also led to many candidates with the same level of experience occupying similar wage brackets. Therefore, moving positions with the aim of increasing salary is an option, but only up to a point. Those approaching the upper range of salaries in their area must consider what additional skills they need to progress their careers, and look for the best IT jobs that offer the chance to gain these skills.

Contracting remains a desirable and lucrative option for the most talented and with most only experiencing downtime between contracts of less than four weeks, this looks set to continue.

However, those considering switching from permanent to contract must have built their skills up to a high level, over several years, to enter the market with confidence. Rates remain higher than salaried roles, but the need to be flexible around rates and travel, plus the ability to quickly integrate with existing teams in highly stressful environments, presents challenges that should be fully considered before making the change.

Skills and technologies in demand

In keeping with recent years, the key technology drivers remain similar; the consolidation of infrastructures, data management and analytics, increased use of SaaS, IT security, new application development and mobile technologies are just a few that could be described as ‘hotspots’.

The key skills which are currently in demand which are not technology specific are stakeholder management and communication skills; perhaps a reflection of IT departments further integration into their businesses and the need for better engagement with internal stakeholders. As project work increases throughout 2012, businesses will demand even more user and customer facing abilities from their IT staff.


For all but the most fortunate and high profile businesses, hiring specialist IT skills is at its most challenging for a decade. A shortage of candidates with the necessary skills for a career in IT has led to major technology companies being embroiled in a ‘talent war.’

Demand remains high for the best IT professionals on both a contract and permanent basis and indicators point to further investment in IT throughout 2012. Businesses that have come through the downturn in relatively good shape are set to free up budget to help deliver improved IT services to their customers.

However, the recent need for IT departments to deliver more for less, leading to greater workloads for staff, has not always been reflected in increased pay. This, combined with the difficulty in hiring some positions, means there is a real danger that there will be greater movement of permanent staff as market confidence returns.

The contract market is in good shape, however appetite for contract IT workers is still some way off its post-recession peak (mid 2010 and is down year-on-year. Despite this, we believe there will be a continued need for contract staff, as employers increasingly look for flexibility to complete business critical projects.

There is a current trend for employers to ‘poach’ top talent from other companies, but this will not solve their talent needs in the long run. To combat the current and future skills shortages, employers will have to invest in training programmes to develop existing staff, hire university graduates and look to other industries for their talent.

The move to replace the current ICT curriculum with one based on computer science and programming is expected to attract new talent to the sector. More quality graduate developers will also emerge as students develop technical skills at a younger age.or

The lack of significant new entrants into the IT market over the last five years however, has led to a clustering at the upper end of pay brackets. In order to attract the best, those seeking to hire permanent IT staff offer competitive salary and benefits packages, while also ensuring that roles are stimulating and offer room for growth.

 Give yourself an edge by downloading the our full IT benefits guide as a PDF, including in depth tables of data and analysis.

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