Fewer IT pros looking for work

Reduced liquidity in the IT jobs market could lead to higher pay for those willing to make a move, Atsco has said.

The number of IT professionals looking for work has fallen to under a third in the past year, which may prompt wage inflation, according to new research.

SkillsMarket and the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (Atsco) surveyed 5,000 IT workers, finding that just 28 per cent are looking for work or open to opportunities, compared to 42 per cent a year ago.

Atsco's chief executive, Ann Swain, said this may mean firms looking for IT staff need to offer better pay and other benefits to draw potential employees in.

"Demand for IT skills is still high, so if people are reluctant to change jobs, employers may need to offer more generous compensation packages than they have budgeted for in order to get the skills they need," she said.

Indeed, one reason IT workers are staying put is better retention policies, such as offering share options - many of which ended after the dot com boom went bust.

"Share options in web start-ups are potentially much more valuable now," said Swain. "People have seen the big Web 2.0 acquisitions and think the company they work for might be next. It's definitely had an impact on labour market mobility."

While the survey may be good news for IT workers looking for higher pay, it can also hurt the sector, she warned.

"Low liquidity in the IT jobs market can become a problem as it tends to hamper skills development," Swain said. "Workers are far more likely to acquire new skills by changing jobs, so if they are not moving employers will have to spend more on formal training."

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