The annual salary for network and systems analysts, as well as user support technicians, has leapt higher as the demand for technical skills grows.

In defiance of the credit crunch, the median salary for network and systems analysts in the UK jumped 9.5 per cent on last year to £31,120, while that of user support technicians leapt 13 per cent to £24,177.

The figures come from a survey of 82 companies with a total of nearly 8,700 IT staff, conducted by research firm IDS.

"This growth can be attributed to a trend in the UK to specialise in more high-specification technical IT work, and because of an upturn in employers’ investments in IT systems," IDS said.

The pay rises in these roles were far ahead of the average IT staff wage rise, which was 3.5 per cent, a one quarter per cent increase on the pay rise the previous year.

Most firms awarded pay rises based on a combination of the employee’s performance and the skills they had gained. But one third of businesses assessed performance alone. Half of businesses operated a bonus scheme for IT staff, and the average payment was five per cent of salary.

Call outs and standby work was normally paid to staff as a one-off payment for the work or for a period of time, and overtime work was paid at double time for weekends and time-and-a-half during the week. Some seven in 10 firms said their IT staff qualified for overtime payments.

Most IT staff had a contract for 37.5 hours' work per week, but the survey said weekly hours for IT staff in the private sector were “generally longer” than in the public sector. Around half of companies gave their IT staff 26 days a year holiday.

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