We recently reported on the dismal trends facing IT contracting specialists in the banking and financial sectors but new figures suggest that demand in other sectors of the IT skills market is rising healthily.

A new survey commissioned by IT websites JobsAdWatch.co.uk and CWJobs.com reveals that the number of IT vacancies advertised has risen by almost a fifth (19%) in the space of one year, two thirds of which are with outsourcing firms and software houses. Demand is also rising in the retail sector.

Over the last quarter, openings for IT contractors rose by 4.7%, significantly outpacing the demand for permanent posts, which rose by just 1%. Skills most in demand over the last twelve months were ASP (up 22.9%), .NET (23.4%) and Agile (38.6%).

There is, however, something of a regional divide in the distribution of IT contracting roles. Most of them remain in the South, with growth strongest of all in Outer London (5.7%). This was closely followed by Southern England (4.8%) and Inner London (3.8%). By contrast, contractor roles actually fell over the last quarter further North, with the North East experiencing a 2.9% drop and the North West a 0.9% fall.

Unsurprisingly, in the light of severe spending cuts, public sector roles have plummeted – permanent IT roles fell by 40.6%, while contractor roles plunged by 42.2%.

Overall, however, the IT industry is proving exceptionally resilient despite the faltering economy, with advertised vacancies increasing in each of the previous nine quarters.

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