Three-quarters of IT contractors expect their salaries to increase this year, signalling that demand is at its highest since the dot-com boom, according to research from contractor services provider Giant Group.
Historically, the largest demand for contractors has come from the financial services sector, but according to the research, the public sector now uses the largest proportion of IT contractors (23%) with financial services relegated to second place (21%).
Even though the public sector's feted e-government project is due to go live at the end of 2005, there are scores of other mega-projects in the public sector – at the NHS and Ministry of Defence – that fuel further demand. The telecoms sector is also driving growth, with 15% of respondents predicting the sector will generate the most new contracts this year.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted by the Help Desk Institute (HDI), that canvassed 1,000 personnel in the IT support industry, reports that the average salary of IT managers in that segment stands at around £40,350.
While some may regard that base as low, around 40% said they have the opportunity to increase it with bonus payments. They also have to work hard for the money. Over two-thirds said they work more than 40 hours a week.
Within the pure IT support function, the average salary was £31,389, although men appeared to earn 18% more than women with the same job.
Based on the responses, the number of women in support is falling. In 2003, 36% of the segment's workforce were women, compared to the current proportion of 32%.
That is despite the fact that women get promoted more often. Almost one-quarter of women reported they had been promoted in the last year, compared with 16% of men.