According to research by the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (Atsco), demand for IT contractors has pushed the going rate close to the £54-an-hour high enjoyed in December 2000, around the peak of the dot-com boom.
This demand, driven by security concerns, compliance and company mergers, is expected to grow throughout 2006, leading Atsco to predict even higher rates of pay than were seen before the industry slump.
"Pay for City IT contractors has reached a milestone," said Anne Swain, Atsco's CEO. "This year could be the year when the ghosts of the dot-com era are finally laid to rest and IT pay in the City tops the record set during the height of the boom."
The rate of increase of pay for in-house IT employees across all industries, however, still lags behind the national average at 3.7%, according to the National Computing Centre Benchmark of Salaries and Employment Trends. Meanwhile, IT staff turnover hit 12.0% in 2005, a significant leap from 2004's figure of 9.6%.