back to article Recession will destroy 40,000 UK IT services jobs

Just under 40,000 UK IT services jobs are expected to disappear by 2010, although then the sector will slowly begin to recover. In 2008 there were 559,000 people employed in IT services - this is expected to fall to 542,000 this year, 522,000 in 2010 before rising to 528,000 in 2011. Not until 2013, when there should be 573, …


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  1. Nick Kew

    Recovering in 2010?

    There's a nasty hill near here[1]. Cycling up, it eases a bit and you think the top is coming, before it plays a cruel trick and gets steeper again.

    Could that be a bit like seeing a recovery in 2010?

    [1] West Devon. The average Brit would have to travel some distance to find hills like ours.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Does he mean "moved" instead of "destroyed"

    Because I don't see 40K people stopping whatever they are doing today. Mind you, there is of course some slow down of new projects, specially non-essential or "wish list" projects.

    But what is running today has to be kept running tomorrow, adapted to legal, environment and business changes. I don't see 40K people just being devoted to superfluous things or working in places that are going to be flat out closed.

  3. Pete 2 Silver badge

    What, exactly, is an "IT" job?

    OK, this is a geek forum. We all reckon that an IT job involves either writing bugs, fixing bugs or sysadmin-ing other poeple's bugs.

    However, there are an awful lot of people who are classed as "IT" workers, who never see a bug in their entire lives. Think of all the change control people, the project administrators, managers, resource administrators, contract admin staff, supplier liason types, conformance teams, sales, QA people, technical authors, account managers - hell: even the helpdesk and datacentre cleaners. All these people are classed as IT workers - inasmuch as they work in IT departments.

    When all is said and done, the number of non-technical people in IT far outnumbers the people who sit, all day, in front of a screen surfi^H^H^H^H^Hworking diligently at writing new applications, modifying old ones and telling the boss why the email's gone down (again).

    What we need is a bit of "yes minister" management here. Just reclassify all these jobs as administration, rather than IT and the number of job losses is down to 4 figures. Another problem successfully spun into oblivion!

  4. Andrew Moore
    Thumb Up


    4 year holiday. Celebrate!!!

  5. Dr Who
    Thumb Up

    Jobs Worth

    I used to know a bloke who was a backup tape changer. He'd wait for one tape to finish, then swap it with the next one. He didn't make much money through his work, but he made an awful lot through health and safety claims (excess noise in the data centre), huge amounts of sick leave caused by stress (what if the tape gets mangled) and claiming every out of hours or other benefit he could lay his hands on.

    If the 40,000 that go are all the jobs worths then I for one would see it as one of few upsides of the recession.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so decline in IT study was actually rather inspired?

    .. not long ago we were hearing about the shortfall of IT people for the UK market... funny how that never came to pass and the students and also those people leaving the IT industry were able to see beyond these annoyingly irrelevant statistics that never really tally with the real world.

    Lies, damn lies and statistics.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    What an insult

    for software engineers, programmers etc to be lumped with advertising morons!

  8. Warhelmet

    But which jobs...

    I mean, is that new deployments of super-whizz-bang are slowing and legacy stuff prevails?

  9. paul brain

    I for one am pleased about this

    As someone who hires IT people and being a proper techie myself, I was beginning to tire of the self inflated worth, ego stropping, god complex, this new generation of IT engineers was breeding. Correcting the market was always going to be necessary, else all IT projects would have been too expensive to do in the west.

    Salaries need to reflect actual ability and that needs to be measured by depth in knowledge. This market correction will weed out most of the chuff, who suddenly, well since last October, stopped strutting around like alpha males and are suddenly realising they are dispensable / replaceable and had better up their game if they wish to maintain a career in this industry.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm sure a small percentage of top people will get culled, but these are the ones who will find new work quickly, as has always been in IT, there is always a requirement for really good engineers.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    If some 'mailaway university' can turn out "fully-qualified" IT people as easily as their ads claim then it is easy to see why there are so many excess IT people wandering around at the moment. Most of them seem - to me at least - to be about as good at real IT work as your average Lemming is at being a tour guide...

  11. Lusty

    @paul brain

    Paul, you'll find that for the skills you are looking for, the slaries demanded are absolutely spot on. After all, why should an IT poffessional earn any less than a Lawyer or an engineer.

    The BCS has a scheme to ensure quality and continued training, and you should start requiring chartered IT proffessionals instead of whining about idiots demanding high wages. I bet not one of the people you are speaking of has chartered status, and probably never will.

    Anyone currently finding themselves in the market for work would do well to charter themselves too in order to prove a point about us being a proffession rather than a bunch of nerdy layabouts who happen to know more about IT than the others in the company.

    ooh, new icons...shiny!

  12. Anonymous Coward

    @Lusty (@Paul Brain)

    Yes, the BCS scheme is reputedly quite good. There's also professional bodies like the IAP for the analysts and programmers well worth joining, especially if you're a contractor.

    As others have said, Computeach and others (is it just me or is there a rash of these at the moment) give the mistaken impression that you can sit in a classroom for a week and - zap, pow - you're suddenly some kind of IT superman (or superwoman) that'll have employers crawling across broken glass to employ you.

    Would that this was the case...

    Bob, MIAP

  13. SynnerCal

    @Does he mean "moved" instead of "destroyed"

    I kinda agree with what you're saying here. However, there does seem to be an assumption amongst some IT consumers that, because times are hard, whereas 10 people would be doing a job before, now a maximum of 5 (overworked!) folks are all that's required.

    I'd also be interested to learn how many of these jobs aren't destroyed merely 'stolen'. That is the practice of some large companies (mainly American owned) to say that a job is no longer required, then transfer the work - usually first to somewhere 'cheaper' in Europe, before finally sending it finally to some newly recruited sweatshop in India. A recent example of this was HP closing their Scottish factory to move it to Eastern Europe. I'll give good odds that within 2-3 years that the work their ends up in Malaysia, or somewhere else in Asia. (Apologies for picking on HP, but that was the most recent item in the news).

    I have the crushing misfortune to work for such an ethically challenged conglomerate, and I've seen 90% of the team I'm in shredded in such a way - and I'm very sure that my P45 is being filled in as I type this. Interestingly in _every_ case that I've seen this job substitution happen the cost to the company has gone down but the customer has not seen a reduction in their bill, nor have they seen an upswing in the level in customer service (actually, at best it's stayed similar, but in most cases the customer ends up with a worse service - or so the complaints to me bear out).

    I'm sorry if this sounds like a xenophobic "little englander/british jobs for the british" rant, but I feel strongly about this, (not least because of my own impending move to the jobless figures)

  14. Anonymous Coward

    @paul brain

    Every contractor/freelancer/overpaid ego (call us what you will) knows that the market goes in cycles. Sure this dip in demand is going to take some people by surprise and some people may well decide to move out of IT completely as a result. What I am currently seeing is virtually zero new projects in my field of IT and have decided to take on a permanent job. However this is with a sense of deja vu because it was only when my last "permanent" position became superfluous (some 18 years ago) that I went contracting.

    I agree broadly with the comments made by lusty, you should be looking to hire people with the right skills, no winging when yet again you have found that the cheapest candidate did not work out to be so cheap after all.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Already In Progress

    In case folks haven't realised, that cull and re-alignment has already started taking place. Advertised salaries appear to be maybe 20% lower than they were a couple of years ago. Even the poor old contractor is finding that the likes of EDS and others are shafting them with 10% rate reductions in mid-contract, take it or go.

    As a previous poster has advised, this re-alignment is probably overdue anyway. Gordon the moron has been actively shoving people into jobs for several years and I'm sure we've probably got a few too many tape swappers on the public budget as a result.

    And how come I'm having to do a bit more searching for my Paris icon then? The rest of those icons can get stuffed, whereas the Paris one .....

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BCS run IIS

    that sort of stops the credibility dead in its tracks.

    The truth is most people in IT don't have a clue about most stuff, and the problem with IT has been the God complex of IT managers, they are not really required in the process. In India they put the worse into IT management, which are still better than the best IT management in the UK.

    The actual skills that a lot of UK developers and good Unix admins far surpass most other countries, but where it falls apart is the management tier in the UK, that tends to attract the yes men, and hopefully that is the area being culled currently, be a lot better for the economy.

    Developers and administrators need secretaries, and to be left to manage their project and budget, that model works a lot better, the secretary can service a couple of admins and developers, and the result is a better work environment and better tuned projects, that come in on time and on budget.

    We often see a little bit of a marketing backlash as they seem to believe they have the ability to make plausible, and usable software, the truth is they don't. I haven't bought one bit of software that hasn't been developed mainly by a developer. It is odd, when the software industry was relatively young I would buy software and it was good, then the marketing lot came and I stopped buying. Now, when I buy I tend to find again there has been no marketing involvement, and the software is good.

    So, to me and I suspect a lot of others marketing in IT is a complete waste, get rid of it and cut costs.

  17. JohnG

    @Pete 2 - What, exactly, is an "IT" job?

    As a Network Engineer, I seem to fall outside of your definition of an IT worker, so I guess you won't mind if your Internet access is disabled?

    P.S. I'm glad to see you development and systems boys want to take responsibilty for email outages - normally the network gets the blame (until I prove otherwise).

  18. Steven 1

    @ AC 07:34

    "the secretary can service a couple of admins and developers"

    I'll have some of that action...

  19. Danj
    Paris Hilton

    @Paul Brain

    "weed out most of the chuff" - are you sure that's what you mean, sir? No-one would go into IT for 'the chuff', except perhaps some of my sapphic colleagues, but I for one find there's *not enough* round here, never mind getting rid of it, or indeed, them...

  20. Gaius


    Network "engineers" (really? Where's your charter then?) are just a branch of sysadmins, same as DBAs.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @AC - 07:34 GMT

    "the secretary can service a couple of admins and developers"

    Dang you Steven 1....

    Anyway, I'm glad my sprog is just going into university in the fall and won't be out for a few years. Maybe by then the economy will start to brighten up a bit.

    Paris, because of her services.

  22. Matthew Ellen

    Accurate like the weather?

    Since the met office can't accurately predict the weather, how can we take these figures seriously? Unless the economy is a simple affair that can be projected on the back of a napkin...

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