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JobStats - Welcome to the JobStats newletter: 05 Apr 2002

05 Apr 2002
Welcome to the JobStats newsletter. This is a new feature, giving an overview of the job market and highlighting any points of interest. There will be a new issue at least every month. If you have any questions or suggestions please send me mail.

The past year has been a terrible one for the IT market. The demand for new staff has fallen by two thirds from the peak in early 2001. The decline began in April 2001 and fell by a third until September when the decline started to slow down. Then (presumably triggered by fears raised by the September 11th attacks) it fell sharply again and kept on falling until just recently when it seems to have stopped falling. Demand for contract staff was particularly badly hit, falling from a peak of nearly a third of all jobs to under a fifth. Since early October the proportion of contract jobs has started to increase again.

As for specific skills, the big rise has been in the demand for staff with experience of SAP packages. Demand started rising in June 2000 and has kept growing ever since. Now one in 12 jobs are looking for someone with SAP knowledge. The big fall has been in web-related skills, for instance e-commerce fell like a stone throughout 2001 but you can pick any web technology to get the same result.

Locations show more gradual changes (after all it's easier to change technology than to move office). That said, London has seen a decline both in the total number of jobs advertised for London and as a proportion of jobs. Eighteen months ago nearly forty percent of jobs advertised were in London, now it's 25 percent.

As the demand for staff has fallen so have the rates paid. Annual and hourly rates though, have behaved differently over the past year.

Looking at hourly rates first, these rose sharply over 2000 starting with a jump at the start of the year as people asked for (and sometimes got) a pay rise to counteract IR35. They then started falling around 18 months ago and kept falling until the start of this year since when they have levelled out. It looks as though we've reached the bottom. The bottom though is roughly 10-15 pounds per hour lower than two years ago. What does this mean if you're looking to change jobs - it means that you are unlikely to get a better rate in a new job than you're getting now.

Annual rates neither rose as sharply nor fell as drastically as hourly rates and the gains of the past two years have been mostly retained. Annual rates didn't start falling until September 2001 (again, presumably triggered by the September 11th attacks). As for hourly rates the annual rates have stopped falling.

The best that can be said is that things seem to have stopped getting worse. Hardly grounds for a party just yet but it may be time to think about who to invite and what flavour of jelly to buy.


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