PAYE umbrella contractors working in the IT skills market may be interested to hear of a new interactive online tool providing up-to-date information on the most sought-after skills and the going salary and contractor rates in their region.

The new skills and pay rate monitor comes courtesy of the IT Job Board, which digitally crunches data on 600 contractor and permanent roles obtained from the website, producing regional breakdowns according to pay rate and most-wanted skills.

A North-South divide quickly becomes apparent on even a cursory view of the figures. The South dominates the field in terms of advertised roles and pay rates, with London hogging the highest proportion by far. For example, in the West Midlands the number of contract roles for ASP.NET skills was 68; for London, the equivalent figure was 605.

It’s not just the availability of jobs that differ – pay rates vary widely too. In the West Midlands, a C++ expert can command around £34,500 per annum (£275 per day). In London, the equivalent rate is £60,000 (£575 per day).

There is also some encouraging news for specialists in IT contracting. The new tool reveals that 1 in 18 jobholders in the UK work in the IT sector, a proportion that translates into 1.52 million people. This is set to rise – the IT industry is likely to grow at five times the average rate for the UK over the next twelve months, hitting a rate of 2.19%.

For those interested to know, the hottest skills in the market are presently mobile applications, cloud computing, social media and NoSQL.

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