The UK Recession – Why It’s Not All Bad News For IT

Despite the daily reports of a country in crisis, the recession seems to be having less of an impact on certain aspects of UK PLC, particularly the IT industry. Whereas many markets were overstretched before the recession kicked in, the IT industry was desperately short of suitable applicants, with over 150,000 jobs being advertised per quarter – a sign of a massive skills shortage in this buoyant industry. Although the marketplace has contracted slightly, that shrinkage has been relative and IT is still a robust industry with growth forecasts of 2-2.5% per year. For people with the right qualifications and skills-sets, this means that the recession could almost pass them by unnoticed.

Programmers in particular are still in demand, especially those with qualifications and experience in .net, C# and PHP, whilst demand for temporary workers with CNC programming skills is high. C# and .net skills are used for building Windows applications, while PHP is a website programming language. As businesses realise that a high Internet profile is vital to reach an international marketplace, many companies are revamping websites to introduce search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques into their profiles and gain a greater number of online ‘hits’ by increasing their presence on the major search engines. The vast majority of businesses use Windows based technology, so programmers that can work on these systems are guaranteed to be gainfully employed most of the time. More details please

When the bubble burst in 2001, IT was considered to be the ‘bad guy’ of the marketplace, and was seen more of an expense to a business rather than a strategic advantage. Now with a much more stable Internet marketplace that acts more as a shop window for real (rather than virtual) companies, business-based IT strategies are once again being heralded as not just a strategic advantage but an absolute necessity.

The short-term contract market is particularly strong during a time of economic downturn as companies downsize their full-time workforce to survive the worst of the recession but still need IT consultants and maintenance contractors on a regular basis. Although the number of jobs being advertised has declined the demand hasn’t, and industry professionals see this lack of advertising as an indication that IT specialists with established reputations are being headhunted by companies rather than finding work through applying for advertised positions. The growth of Internet business networking sites also means that businessmen and women can ‘cherry-pick’ the best consultants via electronic means rather than through traditional advertising techniques. Online sites that carry CVs and biographies are also becoming a dominant factor, allowing those looking for IT specialists to select the best candidates based on a far more specific set of criteria.

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