back to article Layabout, sun-blushed techies have pick of IT job market, says survey

UK techies can pick and choose where they want their next job to be – so much so that many of them took the summer off completely to sip on pina coladas and top up their tans. That's the finding of a new survey, which revealed that according to a seasonally adjusted index measuring permanent vacancies in the IT sector, demand …

  1. cmannett85

    "...and top up their tans."

    They've seen IT people before, right?

    1. Zoopy

      "They've seen IT people before, right?"

      The nice thing is we only need about 4 minutes to top them up.

      1. Little Mouse

        4 minutes outside in the sun?

        4 minutes watching fireworks would be enough to give one or two of my colleagues a "healthy glow".

    2. nsld

      Might explain the shortage

      As a significant number probably burst into flames trying to get a tan.

      Perhaps the recruiters need to add daywalker to the improbable skill list.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Being in the position of both recruiter and recruitee this is entirely accurate. Massive lack of decent techies and fantastic wages on offer - as long as you want a Linux job

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I agree, with the massive lack if Techies, I but I finding it if you only meet 99% of the job spec, then then is comes back as a no.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon


        The general reluctance to allow contract workers to wfh is a big obstacle, so much so that I would choose a lower rate to fill a contract that allowed me to do so.

        To stop people taking the piss, I think a 1-3 month period on-site to prove yourself is perfectly acceptable - but once proven I don't see why I should drag my arse in to London just so I can be seen at my desk, working or not.

        Performance should be measured by the quality and quantity of output, not whether you turned up at the office.

        In my current contract I have to go in one day a week, which is fine, because compared to how hard I work at home to get everything done that day is like having a day off with my mates - lunch breaks, coffee - chats etc. :)

    2. K

      Been looking for a Linux Sys Admin myself for around 3 months.. I finally offered the role last week..

      My advise if your looking - don't take anything under £40k..

  3. Valerion

    More salary needed

    The amount of speculative emails I get from recruiters telling me about a fantastic opportunity, urgent, must fill it now... and paying what I consider to be a pittance is incredible.

    No - you will not get an experienced senior software engineer for £35k.

    As is pointed out time and again, there is no shortage of people, just a shortage of people willing to work for what you want to get away with paying them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More salary needed

      Agreed, I think it's due to mid-level manager's getting envious/confused. Scarcity equals value, so engineers should be getting paid a fair whack; but that violates the old-school business principle where each tier of corporate pyramid gets paid more than the previous - and engineers are almost always subordinates.

      1. Blank Reg

        Re: More salary needed

        That's why companies that value techies have two pyramids the techie pyramid and the management pyramid. I've often made more than my manager.

    2. Naselus

      Re: More salary needed

      "The amount of speculative emails I get from recruiters telling me about a fantastic opportunity, urgent, must fill it now... and paying what I consider to be a pittance is incredible."

      Agreed; the sums in question are just ridiculous in some cases. And it's not just on the development side either; the salaries being offered for Ops in most cases are laughable. Just this morning I received one asking for a CCNA/CCNP-certified network engineer with 'an IT-related degree' and 'at least 5 years experience'... offering £18,000 a year. Who the hell do they think fits into that bracket? Any CCNP (and most CCNAs) can earn £300 a day contracting... do they honestly think that £1500 a month is a tempting offer?

      1. Naselus

        Re: More salary needed

        Another fun one today:

        Junior Network Engineer (ha).

        CCIE or equivalent experience

        CISSP highly desirable

        ITIL Certified

        Degree level education in computer science or related discipline

        Project management qualifications desirable.

        um.... hands up all the entry-level network engineers with a CISSP? Y'know, the cert that they won't even let you apply for the exam for without 5 years experience in at least 2 sec domains? Or all the fresh-faced just-out-of-uni kids who grabbed a CCIE in between getting their 1st in computer science?

        The fact it says 'junior' just means 'we don't want to pay you more than 25k'. But with that list of certs, the job is competing with project management, senior network positions, general IT management, and even CISO jobs.

        1. Swarthy

          Re: More salary needed

          My favorite:

          We need a PHP developer who also knows ASP <u>and</u> ASP.Net, with experience in Oracle, MySQL, and SQL Server. The work in in Washington DC.

          Max they could go was $70K. I politely theorized that for that amount they may get someone in the area that could spell SQL.

    3. Zoopy

      Re: More salary needed

      "As is pointed out time and again, there is no shortage of people, just a shortage of people willing to work for what you want to get away with paying them."

      I think that would be an open question. We know there's a shortage at, for example, £35k. But I'm not sure we know whether or not there would still be a shortage at £75k. At some point, everyone with the requisite skills is already working, and raising the offered wages won't (immediately) increase the pool of available workers.

      1. BillDarblay

        Re: More salary needed

        "raising the offered wages won't (immediately) increase the pool of available workers."

        This is true for obscure niche skills but for the 98% jobs it does not explain why companies offer such piss poor wages and then squeal like spoilt piggies about a 'skills shortage'. It also does not explain why the intransigent oafs, who rely on niche skills, ever think it worth their while to cross-train somebody.

      2. Tom 13

        Re: I think that would be an open question.

        It's not an open question when you have both high unemployment numbers and companies saying the positions can't be filled by locals. That tells you there's a fundamental disconnect is expectations.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: I think that would be an open question.

          During a job search where I get calls from agents, when it comes to the day rate and they mention something paltry I usually just respond with a 'good luck with that'.

          They typically accept that the client is dreaming based on their shopping list of skills & experience - but they can only put forward what the client is offering after all (minus their 40 odd percentage usually!).

          After a few years you get to know a few good hirers/agents and they often ring out of the blue to see if I'm looking but will always respect a 'don't call back until MArch' type thing.

          These guys & gals are worth cultivating - spend a little time chatting to them even if you aren't looking. Once they've placed you and heard good things they can sometimes generate more cash for you because they think you are worth sticking their neck out for and aren't going to make them look silly for the client.

    4. divhide

      Re: More salary needed

      Spot-on. Valerion.

      In probably puerile response to the speculative emails which I also receive, I have started replying with a polite (though slightly cutting) boilerplate text indicating that while I have deepest sympathy for the plight of the (ostensibly) hiring client, the search for a competent, experienced, qualified and dirt-cheap resource is likely to end in woeful disappointment for all concerned. Last senrtence is usually "Please do not forward requirements for junior positions - with 25+ years of real experience, I believe that I am possibly no longer a junior. Wasting your time and mine is perhaps counterproductive.!.

      I know plenty of candidates take the metaphorical, but FFS, why have many (not all, mind you, not all!) recruiters fallen back on the laziest of lazy approaches to selecting potential candidates. And don't offer me the "too many candidates, not enough time" routine - I do have enough hiring/hunting experience to know that this is a weak excuse for laziness.

      We could probably all list several sadly funny recruiter pick-up lines ...

      KPMG, PWC et al ... not much has changed since I walked (happily!) away from a PW (pre-C) offer. Horses for courses, I guess ... not my kind of course either,

      1. AceRimmer

        Re: More salary needed

        Why reply?

        Most of those emails are sent automatically based on (bad/wide) search criteria presented to the CV database.

        Your reply is more than likely going straight in the bin too; spending time reading, digesting and actioning your email will not result in the recruiter filling the position and getting their commission.

        1. divhide

          Re: More salary needed

          Hello AceRimmer - yes, indeed, most of my replies almost certainly hit file #13 very quickly indeed. That occurred to me before I ever sent my first boilerplate response.

          I have visions of you facepalming and asking "in that case, WHY waste your time?". Well, pointless as it is, it reduces the frustration a little for me. I don't think any of us is naive enough to think that anyone loses sleep over my boilerplates!

          As said, I've some experience on the recruiting side of things (not decades, it is true, but some), so do have some idea of how things work, both past and present. There are a notable few recruitment agencies who do seem to do a more thorough job of things before they send out their emails. Unfortunately, they do seem to be in the minority.

          The quality of a recruiter's up-front efforts tend to shine all the way through any interactions with said recruiter and agency.

          There. I feel much better after a coffee and a moderate rant.

          Beer, 'cos there's no coffee icon.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Beefy benefits packages ?

    Where are those ?

    The offers I see most of the time ask for a single person to manage three different server environments, know the intricacies of five different database environments, plan, execute and manage backup strategies, project planning and execution, people interaction and oversight, and be able to remap the network and recable the building as well, all for the princely sum of minimum wage or thereabouts.

    If you want a person to do the job of ten people, you damn well better be ready to pay him the salary of ten people, otherwise you can get stuffed.

    1. dc_m

      Re: Beefy benefits packages ?

      And don't forget that all this needs to be done with zero down-time to the network and next to no budget!

  5. TheMole

    Just another bit of propaganda to pressure the Govt to issue more visas.

    "We couldn't get locals to work below the market rate, which proves there is a skill shortage so we need to import workers - as proved by this unbiased report that we ourselves wrote"

    1. LucreLout

      Re: Just another bit of propaganda to pressure the Govt to issue more visas.

      @The Mole

      Sadly it is exactly as you describe, coupled with what another poster already said about the wage pyramid in large corporates.

      My manager has a very difficult time grasping the concept that I could "skill up" to do his job in about five minutes, whereas he couldn't skill up to do mine in five years. I build products that make or save the company hundreds of millions of pounds, continuously teach myself new skills in my own time, and have 20 years experience; he rubber stamps my timesheet, sends templated reports to more senior management, and lies to me at appraisal time. And yet he seems to believe he should be paid more. It'd be funny were it not so tragic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just another bit of propaganda to pressure the Govt to issue more visas.


        "My manager has a very difficult time grasping the concept that I could "skill up" to do his job in about five minutes"

        I thought that too, then I was offered the opportunity! Now I get a ménage à trois, being spit roasted between developers and the board, yes it pays more, but its really not a very nice!

  6. BillDarblay

    I took the summer off

    because I got fed up with timewasting clients insisting on stupid skill set combinations and after doing 2 long distance 2nd interviews and not hearing back.

    FCUK That! If it carries on this autumn I might do a couple of Koenigs in Goa whilst laughing at the idiots bleating on in the UK media about a skill shortage!

    1. BillDarblay

      Re: I took the summer off

      This from, I suspect, that sports-person loving bank, in Mental Keynes.

      I rest my case! I didn't even bother pasting the 'War and Peace' list of 'desired' skills.

      Knowledge and skills required:


      Core Skills Security:

      Firewalls : Checkpoint Firewalls (single/clusters VRRP) /Juniper/NSM



      IPS: Proventia/Sourcefire/Snort

      Proxies: Bluecoat

      Load Balancers: F5

      Core Skills Networks:

      Understanding of Cisco IOS/NX-OS (Nexus)

      Understanding of TCP/IP, WAN, LAN, VPN, Routing (OSPF, BGP), HSRP, Spanning Tree

      Application Packet Analysis

      Excellent troubleshooting skills and ability to communicate effectively with peers, other teams and management.

      1. Kubla Cant

        Re: I took the summer off

        The ludicrous shopping list of requirements is nothing new. I suspect it's partly due to the fact that recruiters are understandably ignorant of the scope of the skills they're listing. I keep seeing jobs advertised as "Server-side developer - must know HTML and CSS" or "Web UI specialist, HTML, Javascript, Oracle, SQL, Hadoop, Coherence, Perl, BASH...".

        Then there's the mythical skills. I explain that I've used Java for 15 years, and I've developed software in just about every part of an application, but I still hear "Yes, but do you know Core Java?"

        1. BillDarblay

          Re: I took the summer off

          "I suspect it's partly due to the fact that recruiters are understandably ignorant of the scope of the skills they're listing."

          No - it's primarily idiotic and time-wasting clients. Rec-cons who just spam skills are soon weeded out. I think we reached a point, some time ago, where the rec-cons are now much more technically astute than the clients.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon

            Re: I took the summer off

            I was once sent a job description that stipulated the following two (and only these two) qualifications:


            I tried to explain to the recruiter the world that exists between those two points, but I'm not sure it sunk in :)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can only assume that by "UK" they mean "anywhere but within commuting distance of where I live" because I sure as heck can't see these mythical jobs they can't fill at any (sensible) price ! Or perhaps "UK" == "London" or some other ****hole no-one wants to live and work in.

    Mind you, the number that just don't mention pay rates at all, presumably because they know that if they do then they'll get about zero enquiries from people actually qualified for the job. When you see an avert for a "junior" admin with several years experience in Linux, BSD, and Windows (with AD etc), not to mention automation tools, databases, monitoring packages - I think it's safe to say they are offering a pittance and will either pay a lot more than "junior" level to get those skills (in which case, why waste their time by ruling out people that can do it, just not for "junior" pay) or they will take on someone with a lot less than they are asking for (in which case, why not be honest about what you are asking for).

    I'm inclined to agree with one of the comments above - a nice bit of "evidence" to support allowing more cheap "imports", because it sure as heck doesn't reflect reality round these parts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Had this myself a few weeks ago. An ad for a job similar to my current one, no salary mentioned. On contacting them, they said "any amount for the right person", I told them my expectation, got a flustered response saying its 2x what they could offer!

  8. PrivateCitizen


    There are quite a few things confusing about this, but then we have to keep in mind that this is KPMG survey so they are skewing it in their own interests.

    1) Permanent jobs are not really as much of an indicator of seasonal issues as contractor / temp roles:

    That's the finding of a new survey, which revealed that according to a seasonally adjusted index measuring permanent vacancies in the IT sector, demand to fill permanent staffer jobs in the IT market had risen to 64.4 per cent in the dog days of August, up from 62.8 per cent a month earlier.

    Permanent roles are long term commitment so if this is true, it isnt really seasonal. Its companies deciding they need more employees for something and will continue to need them for a long time.

    2) Contractor jobs are an indicator of seasonal trends:

    Meanwhile, demand from Blighty companies to hire temporary techies fell to 58.7 per cent from 59.1 per cent in July.

    So in August there was less of a need for a temporary work force to fill gaps.

    Seems the headline is a bit assbackwards.

    There is a point 3 though.

    3) This data is likely to be meaningless. In all likelihood, KPMG searched round the job boards and simply counted the adverts. This means that when (like my current role) it is advertised by 12 different agencies - all with slightly different details - it counts as 12 jobs rather than 1. It also means that some non-existent jobs (posted by unscrupulous or clueless recruiters or hiring companies) get counted when in reality there are none.

    The easiest way to tell if demand has outstripped supply is to look at the average salaries and contract rates available. These are still, largely, in line with 2009 figures - and as other posters have said include shopping lists of skills for £35-40k a year.

    All of this implies to me, at least, that there isnt enough of a skills shortage for anyone to actually care - it is just a shortage of skilled workers prepared to work for the salary they had when they were unskilled.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Confused

      I love the way they used 1 decimal place to feign accuracy.

      You can hide a lot of lies with percentages.

  9. W Donelson

    Demand for young, cheap....

    ... and living at home with parent.

  10. future research

    Just got a good one. under Key/essential skills:

    5+ years working as a DevOps engineer

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