The IT Job Board’s inaugural Job Market Survey has revealed there is a real threat of skills loss to the industry. 42 percent of IT pros are actively seeking work, with 52 percent keeping an eye on the IT jobs market.

The report has also highlighted that by the end of the third quarter (September 2011), 35 percent of permanent workers plan to move jobs, compared to more than half (57 percent) of contractors, who will look to change roles. Interestingly, during the recession, 40 percent of IT workers have also thought about a complete change of career.

Commenting on these findings, Alexandra Farrell, Managing Director of The IT Job Board, said: “UK businesses could be in for a shock, as we climb out of recession. Clearly, large numbers of highly skilled workers are contemplating their futures, and considering the possibility of taking their precious skills elsewhere.

“You would expect to see movement within the contractor space, but I was alarmed to see such high numbers of permanent staff thinking about a near future career move. Losing such highly qualified payroll staff could have a serious impact on companies’ IT departments.”

When it came to reviewing the salaries and hourly rates of IT workers, the UK’s leading IT job board (2) has revealed that 61 percent of permanent workers expect to see either no increase or a minimal increase of 1-2 percent at their next review. And 61 percent do not expect to receive a bonus in 2011. Almost half (58 percent) of staff on freelance contracts have seen no change in their pay rates in the last 12 months, 5 percent have seen these rates fall, and 46 percent do not expect an increase in pay at their next job (in spite of 34 percent looking to move roles).

The survey highlighted that 96 per cent of respondents have worked in the IT industry for more than five years. What prompted the majority of permanent workers to leave their last job was career progression (40 percent), and pay and conditions (19 percent). For 28 percent of contractors, it was due to the fact that their IT contract had come to an end. When selecting their current work, for 31 percent of contractors it came down to location, compared to 35 percent for permanent staff. Interest of work, and new challenges received 29 percent of the contractor, and 34 percent of the permanent employee vote.

Alexandra Farrell added: “It seems that money isn’t always the motivating factor. Clearly, fighting boredom comes high on the list of priorities for IT professionals looking to move jobs.

“The IT industry is a fluid one, and workers will look to move jobs, in order to update or hone their skills – working on an exciting technical project can often be incentive enough. Ultimately, they want work that stretches them, and brings their skills bang up-to-date.”

She warns business leaders to think about the factors needed to attract and retain talented IT staff, and commented:

“The skills that highly-qualified IT specialists bring to a business are valuable, and should not be underestimated. Companies need to re-engage with their staff, and listen to what they want. It seems that problems won’t be rectified with a simple pay rise, or bonus. Bosses should address the factors which motivate their staff, and those which keep them enthusiastic in their work.

“Employees will understand that there hasn’t been a great deal of money around during the recession, but as we begin to look towards more positive times ahead, they will expect to be treated in the same way as their industry peers. It is vital for businesses to address this in order to prevent a damaging haemorrhage of staff and critical skills.”