We’ve recently reported some gloomy news for the IT contracting world, or at least those PAYE umbrella contractors working in banks and financial services who have seen substantial cuts to their pay rates in recent months. However, new research from a specialist recruitment agency suggests that City firms are engaged in a bidding war to secure the talent they need in the IT skills market.

Salaries for senior IT professionals working in hedge fund management have surged by 30% since 2010 and bonuses by 60%, the specialist IT recruiter ReThink reveals.

Commenting on the figures, ReThink’s Head of Financial Services, Fhamid Malik, said “A shortage of candidates has meant that bidding wars for top staff can easily erupt – which can result in base salaries being increased by up to 30% to stop key members of their IT teams leaving.”

The skills that appear to be most in demand are predominantly .Net and C#, but tekkies who can combine sound technical knowledge with experience in trading and pricing analysis are especially sought after. The clamour to keep contractors and other staff with the requisite IT expertise has reached such a point that, in a growing number of cases, bonuses are being paid on a quarterly basis rather than annually, as is customary.

Less encouraging data, however, emerged from the specialist financial services recruiter Astbury Marsden, which paints a rather different picture to the “bidding war” scenario uncovered by ReThink. According to Astbury Martin’s data, cost cutting in the financial sector has led to a surfeit of IT contractors looking for work, who rose by 30% on last month’s figures.

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