New research says that the IT sector is "on the rebound", as demand for staff continues to grow.

However, demand for permanent IT staff was only the second highest growth in February, after secretarial staff. In January, demand for permanent IT staff had shown the strongest increase of all sectors.

The findings were revealed in the latest report by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, based a survey of 400 UK recruitment consultants.

The report uses a figure to represent demand, where anything below 50 indicates a drop on the previous month.

In February, the figure for permanent IT staff was 64.7, a slight decrease compared with January’s figure of 67.7. While this ends a consecutive six months of growth, it was still far higher than the figure in February 2009 (30.8).

Although the demand for contract IT staff also showed an increase, it was a smaller increase compared with last month, making the sector fall from second to fourth place. The figure was 57.5 for February, compared with 58.7 in January. Demand for contract secretarial staff continued to hold its first place position.

These figures reflect the broader results of the research, which found that the number of people recruitment agencies had placed in permanent jobs had increased at the sharpest rate since July 2007.

In contrast, although the number of temping placements continued to rise in February, the rate of growth was the slowest since last November. Comments from the survey panel suggested that this was due to some clients not renewing contracts.

Bernard Brown, partner and head of business services at KPMG, said: “The latest figures seem to confirm that the UK jobs market is on the road to recovery.

Permanent job placements are growing at their fastest pace since July 2007, with both vacancies and salaries increasing.

“Sectors such as IT and computing as well as engineering and construction that were particularly hit by recession are clearly on the rebound.”

However, Brown warned that the anticipated public sector recession was still yet to make an impact on the jobs market, and he predicted that this impact would start to show in the next six to 12 months.

Mike Devlin, director at IT services company Morse, said businesses should start managing its core workforce more efficiently.

“For example, an organisation might decide to only spend 50 percent to 80 percent of its headcount budget on permanent staff. By then employing a third party to provide skilled personnel on an as-needed basis, the organisation can make sure that it always has access to the IT skills without exhausting funds on surplus permanent staff or expansive contractors.”