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Survey: Web-Skilled IT Staff Are In Demand

According to a survey by the National Computing Centre (NCC), nearly 30 per cent of UK companies will be looking for additional Internet/intranet skills over the next two years.

Demand for skills in developing browser-based applications is far outstripping demand for Windows NT, Oracle development, and generic networking skills, the report stated.

"This demand is a significant increase on the proportion of respondents who indicated that they would need to acquire Internet/intranet skills in last year's survey," said Diane Finn, NCC's head of membership. "Specifically, this year we have seen a number of respondents citing that they require staff with knowledge and experience of technologies which directly relate to browser-based applications, such as Java."

Most employers (around 80 per cent) said they would train their existing staff to develop browser-based skills. Yet quite a high proportion (28 per cent) said they would recruit externally for them. This compares with only 18 per cent of companies indicating that they would recruit externally for Windows NT, while 95 per cent would retrain existing staff for that purpose. As for Oracle: nearly 40 per cent of companies say they will recruit externally.

Y2K and EMU projects have caused a sharp rise in the use of outside contractors, with many companies seeing contractors as their only option to meet pressing deadlines. The high level of demand has brought with it an increase in consultants' salaries--the average daily rate now up 22 per cent to UK522.

The latest NCC survey says that IT professionals can expect a bright future, with over 60 per cent of respondents expecting to increase the levels of their IT staff over the next two years. However, the use of outside contractors--added to the rise in salaries of in-house staff--means that IT costs will rise significantly during the same period.

Readers can obtain a copy of the report, entitled "Salaries and Staff Issues in Computing 1999," direct from the NCC, by calling: 0161 242 2200.