Recent research shows that the demand for IT professionals with web expertise is rising steadily, even in the face of the currently difficult economic climate, the most sought-after candidates being professionals with .Net and Java/J2EE skills and web analytics experience.

The study, carried out by recruitment consultancy Robert Walters, also shows that UK firms in 2008 recruited more web professionals than the year before, with the trend set to continue this year. “Overall retail revenues are down year on year but a higher percentage of this revenue is now coming from online,” says the study. “This shift has led to an increased demand for web professionals with exposure to large scale e-commerce platforms.”

While IT experts are in high demand for virtualisation, financial services, web services and compliance as well as implementation in long-term projects in the banking sectors, the perceived risk of moving jobs in light of the present market uncertainty is causing many professionals to shy away from the opportunity due to nervousness, which provides an excellent opportunity for contractors.

“Employers do not necessarily want the commitment of permanent staff, so if things go downhill they will take advantage of the flexibility of hiring freelancers,” said Atsco chief executive Ann Swain.

Overall, contractor salaries have reached their highest level in two years, according to the study, despite rate reductions and cuts in certain sectors. In the six months to February, hourly rates increased by 11 per cent.

Thanks to for the initial report.

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