The IT jobs market is stabilising, according to recruitment company Michael Page International, as it reported a rise in its half-year profits.

Stuart Packham, director of Michael Page Technology, told Computerworld UK: “The general message in technology is that we are currently seeing stabilisation through the back end of last year and the first quarter of this year.”

In its results for the first half of 2010, Michael Page said that a recovery “first became evident” in the financial services, sales and retail disciplines, and that “now virtually all disciplines are showing an improving trend” – including IT. The company said that market conditions had started stabilising in the latter part of 2009.

In the UK, which represents 29 percent of the group’s gross profit, operating profit jumped 59 percent to £9.6 million.

Packham said that the technology recruitment division is seeing an increase in both permanent and contract job rates.

“We are seeing an increase in hiring and the market is moving in the right direction,” he said. “Although the public sector has slowed a little, across the majority of sectors, projects are being signed off again.”

In particular, Packham said that the market for IT jobs in the financial services sector was doing well.

“The financial services IT business has improved in line with the financial services market in permanent and temporary sectors. It has bounced back fairly well, it’s very noticeable.”

However, Packham said that the biggest change was that customers were thinking more about the medium and long-term projects.

He addded that the skills most in demand were those in IT transformation, enterprise resource management (ERP), data warehousing and business intelligence (BI).

“Anything that gives businesses an overview of where the business is, and that gives them the platform for the future,” Packham explained.

In a statement, Steve Ingham, chief executive of Michael Page, said: “In the UK, Continental Europe and North America, we have experienced improvements in job flow in virtually all markets.

However, he added: “It is the nature of our business that visibility is short and the general level of business confidence and economic activity may be threatened by fiscal consolidation in the UK and Europe.”

Meanwhile, Anthony Miller, analyst at TechMarketView, said that the recruitment company’s results confirmed previous positive job market news from recruitment firms Harvey Nash and Adecco.

“Significantly, permanent recruitment grew faster than the contractor business, which tends to be an important indicator of a return in confidence to the jobs market,” said Miller.