IT Tops U.K. Job Market

IT hiring continues to grow faster than other job categories and the U.K. economy as a whole, finds KPMG/Recruitment & Employment Confederation study.

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The British economy -- which is perplexing everyone by apparently producing not a jobless recovery but a job-filled non-recovery -- may not be booming. But it does have a surprising level of demand for IT workers.

According to fresh data from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), the professional body for the U.K. recruitment industry, and consultants KPMG, IT employment showed the strongest rate of expansion among eight types of permanent staff recruitment in March 2013.

This was the second month in a row that IT led the country's job market, the study said, contrasting the rise in demand for technologists versus that of other categories like hotel and catering, engineering/construction, and nursing/medical care.

The data seems to contradict sluggish British IT recruitment numbers that have been lackluster for years, even as recently as January 2013.

What may be happening: "The emergence of a two-speed labor market with a lack of candidates for highly skilled roles, at the same time as persistent levels of unemployment," warned REC's chief executive, Kevin Green.

[ IT pros are getting tired of doing more with less. See Security Job Market Rocks, But Pressures Rise. ]

It may be time to get back on the job market. The problem for the wider economy is that you may not be what people are searching for, the group said. It claimed businesses are willing to pay better starting salaries to get the right talent, "but are struggling to find people with the right skills and experience as candidate availability declines."

Specifically, it said that British businesses can't get enough permanent IT candidates with sufficient business intelligence, digital marketing, Java, .Net, online marketing, PHP, PPC, SEO and SQL skills, or enough database administrators, developers or staff with server knowledge.

"It's a worrying trend that is particularly problematic across IT and engineering and at senior levels in other sectors," Green said. "Persistent skills shortages in these areas could have a disastrous impact on critical infrastructure projects, especially if employers can't find the talent they need to jump-start new ventures in energy, transport and construction."

KPMG said that the data shows that the British economy hasn't yet recovered from ongoing structural weakness. Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services KPMG, warned, "Employers who were previously comfortable making short-term financial commitments are now nervous about undertaking any form of people investment. There is a long way to go -- and forecasts for a flat GDP for the rest of the year do not bode well."

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