London's streets are paved with gold for IT professionals, with salaries soaring as the demand for staff increases.
The worsening skills shortage in Europe is likely to inflate wages further, surveys say. Research company International Data Corporation and Microsoft estimate Europe will be short of 1.7 million workers by 2003. Britain will be one of the worst affected; it is expected to lack 14% of the IT staff it needs.
The UK has 50,000 IT vacancies, and only 18,000 graduates coming out of university each year. Added to this, Britain is experiencing a healthy economy, with 3% growth and unemployment at its lowest in 25 years, at below 4%.
Analysts say huge demand could create wage pressure and other inflation the government would be unable to control. IT staff may even become too expensive for small firms to employ, they warn. Already a raft of vacancies exist in all areas of e-commerce from Java programming to web hosting.
The UK and German governments are easing work permit requirements for IT staff and introducing new permit programmes. Companies such as IBM are training more IT staff by taking on people from non-standard backgrounds. There have been calls for academia to boost its output of suitable graduates.
City recruitment specialist Martin Ward Anderson says demand is greatest in telecomms management and product marketing, for Java programmers, ASP developers, e-commerce technocal architects, WAP programmers, online and market editing and e-commerce project managers.
Martinwardanderson.com lists likely salaries for both permanent and contract positions. In dollar terms these salaries will seem high with the current exchange rate. However, living costs are correspondingly high.
- A technical director will be paid £67,000-£128,000 ($241,200-$460,800)
- A systems architect £62,000 to £115,000
- A project manager £45,000-£105,000
- An infrastructure manager £48,000-£92,000
- A principal consultant/director £100,000 to £175,000
- A managing consultant £65,000 to £125,000
- A consultant £45,000 to £90,000
- An e-business director receive £80,000 to £175,000
- An internet strategy manager £60,000 to £125,000.
Tim Conway of the Computing Services and Software Association, which has 700 member companies employing 300,000 people across the UK, says IT professionals such as designers, integrators, technical architects and consultants can earn £400 a day as freelancers.
The September issue of Computer Appointments lists Java development jobs for around £50k, architect positions for £50k, web developers for £35k, Cisco network engineers for £35k, Domino developers for £30k (£50k for senior roles) and desktop support roles earning £20 to £30k.