Nearly half of all IT workers are considering changing jobs as pay for IT employees skyrockets, reveals research by IT recruitment specialist SkillsMarket and trade association ATSCo.

At the same time, pay for IT professionals is rising at a rate of 18% per annum, nearly five times national average earnings growth (3.7%). The average wage for IT professionals is now £34,500.

According to the SkillsMarket/ATSCo survey of 6,600 IT professionals, 49% of IT workers are now either seriously looking for a new job or open to opportunities, more than three times the number compared to this time last year (24%).

Ann Swain, ATSCo (Association of Technology Staffing Companies) chief executive commented that the results confirm reports from within the IT industry that demand for IT professionals is now at its highest level since the dotcom boom.

“Many IT professionals actually wanted to switch jobs during the dotcom boom, and are now looking for their next role,” she said. “Despite the availability of candidates, the industry is unable to meet demand, which is driving pay growth.

IT recruiters are finding it increasingly difficult to find quality candidates, and applicants are becoming much more selective about the roles they take.

“For employers the fluid state of the IT jobs market is double-edged,” said Swain. “Employers looking to build internal IT expertise should be able to draw from a large pool of technology professionals eager for new challenges, but at the same time they will need to put in place measures to retain the skills they already have in place.”

Staffing companies have reported an increase in demand for roles such as project managers and infrastructure architects, suggesting organisations are looking to recruit new blood to kick-start new IT projects.