The jobs market in IT is holding up better than in other sectors of the economy, according to a new report from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG.
However, demand for both permanent and temporary IT jobs is down significantly, according to the monthly Report on Jobs, which provides a detailed analysis of the UK labour market.
Barclays bank is the latest organisation to announce IT job cuts, planning an additional 40 IT staff redundancies, in addition to the 1,800 announced last July.
Despite the economic downturn and redundancies, the REC survey highlighted shortages of key IT skills including .Net, PHP, C# , and web developers.
Kevin Green, chief executive of the REC, said, "These figures are deeply worrying and show that the contraction in the labour market is now rapidly accelerating. The decline in both permanent and temporary appointments in December is the sharpest recorded since the survey began in 1997."
Mike Stevens, partner and head of Business Services at KPMG, which sponsored the report, suggested the situation will worsen rapidly.
"These latest figures only serve to confirm the most pessimistic projections for the UK jobs market."
Stevens said that employment legislation was leading companies to defer redundancies while they went through a consultation period.
"In addition many listed companies may have been reluctant to make staff redundant soon before the end of the year, since the redundancy cost would have been much higher than the salary savings made over the short period to the year end."
However, he suggested that the "bonus culture" which has spread in the UK economy might moderate the number of job losses. "We have moved toward a bonus culture where a significant part of total pay is a bonus depending on both performance and the employer's profits. Thus salary cost should fall in time of recession reducing the need to cut staff," Stevens said.