Research by the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (ATSCo) shows that in the last six months of 2003, freelance IT pay rates in financial services firms rose by an average of 2%.
In other sectors such as high technology, average freelance IT rate rises were as high as 9%.
The biggest individual winners were datawarehousing experts, who saw hourly rates leap by 35% to £54.
According to Ann Swain, ATSCo’s chief executive, regulatory programmes such as Basel 2 and Sarbanes-Oxley are forcing financial services companies to make data management a priority.
‘The strong demand for datawarehouse architects demonstrates that double-digit wage inflation is still a reality for certain niche skills,’ she said in a statement.
The financial services sector was hit hardest by the downturn, and rising pay here is seen by many as key to recovery.
Swain said: ‘City institutions scaled IT departments down to minimal operational requirements during the downturn so any upturn is going to feed through to job creation fairly quickly.’
ATSCo’s iProfile Skills Survey also reveals that unemployment among IT freelancers fell by over a third during the last six months of 2003. ‘As contractor unemployment falls, wages should continue their upward trend as the pool of reserve labour dries up,’ said Swain.
Swain also predicted companies would begin to invest in IT infrastructure as the recovery took hold. ‘The bottom line is the average corporate PC and its software is reaching the twilight of its useful life,’ she said.
‘Preliminary activities such as business impact planning will soon give way to full-scale IT implementation,’ she added.
The iProfile Skills Survey is compiled from data on more than 20,000 IT professionals and over 7,500 individual responses.
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