Offshoring could be behind drop in demand for IT staff

Growth in demand for IT professionals has declined for the first time in two years, with indications that the jobs market may be feeling the impact of work moving offshore, research shows.

The latest quarterly trends survey from Personnel Today‘s sister title Computer Weekly and analysts SSL shows that the number of jobs advertised online fell by 6% during the second half of 2005 – the first decline since October 2003.

At the same time, advertised salaries have fallen in more than half of the job categories monitored by SSL over the past six months.

The study confirmed the development of a “two-speed economy” in the IT jobs market, in which demand for basic skills in the UK is waning, while IT professionals with business skills are at a premium.

Philip Virgo, strategic adviser at the Institute for the Management of Information Systems, said: “Except for those who have got skills that are in short supply, such as project management, business understanding and multimedia skills, we will see a permanent shrinking in demand. If it can be moved offshore, it is moved offshore.”

More employers are outsourcing basic IT development and programming work overseas, reducing demand for these skills in the UK, said Anne Swain, chief executive of the Association of Technology Staffing Companies.

“Offshore outsourcing has affected the junior jobs. A huge number have been taken out of the profession,” she said.

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