Dramatic fall in UK IT staff demand, says KPMG

Fall in demand far less severe than in other sectors

There has been a dramatic fall in demand for IT staff in the UK, according to a new report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG. But the fall in demand was far less severe than other sectors.

The demand for staff fell heavily last month, the "Recruitment Industry Survey" report stated. Markit, which compiled the report, said the fall was one of the largest single monthly drops in the IT industry's history.

The news comes after a spate of IT job losses, as businesses cut their ranks during the recession, including an announcement Tuesday that over 4,500 UK back office jobs will be cut by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The report uses a figure to represent demand, where anything below 50 indicates a drop on the previous month. The figure for IT in March was 31.9, indicating a severe fall in demand. IT contractors experienced an equal fall in demand.

In spite of the falling demand, permanent IT staff were the sector second most in demand — after nursing — propped up by demand for software developers. All sectors in the report showed a harder fall than IT, except for nursing which experienced some growth, at 56.4. The worst hit sector was blue collar workers, leaving a figure of 26.3. The numbers were created from data from 400 UK recruitment consultancies.

Mike Stevens, head of business services at KPMG, said: "These latest figures leave no doubt that the UK jobs market is at its worst in the 11 year history of the survey and recovery might take longer and be more protracted than many hope."

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