Pay rates soar for Web developers

Social networking websites like Facebook and MySpace have propelled pay rates for Web developer 26% over the past 12 months.

The Association of Staffing Technology Companies says the average hourly rate for a Web developer is now £29, up from £23 this time last year.

The rise was attributed to the success of Web 2.0, championed by high-profile acquisitions, such as Google's £883m purchase of YouTube.

Coupled with a shortage of IT graduates skilled in online technologies, pay rates for Web developers should continue to rise into the future, ATSCo said yesterday.

Upward pressure on rates is also being exerted from dot com companies, which are locked in a "bidding war" with retailers to secure "key web skills."

Companies that don't offer large enough incentives to candidates will see first-hand how "poaching from rivals is becoming a necessity."

In a statement, ATSCo added: "Web developers, who defined the first dot com era, but saw demand for their skills decline after the late 90s downturn, are now among the most sought-after IT professionals in the UK.

"The proliferation of social networking sites, and the increasing amount of time people are spending online, has lead to a boom in demand for online content from advertisers looking to target these audiences."

Ann Swain, chief executive of ATSCo, said companies are now aware that websites can now offer "a more sophisticated user experience" compared with the plain text sites around in the 90s.

"It was relatively easy to publish a decent website back then, but now it's difficult without expert programming skills," she said.

But Alex Charles, founder of the SkillsMarket, explained consumer-led websites are not alone in fuelling demand for cutting-edge skills in net technologies.

"Over the last year we have also seen a dramatic transfer in b2b applications to the web," he said.

"This has been the result of new technologies such as AJAX, which has enabled functionally rich applications to be moved online. Typical examples include contact management and email systems."

Neil Price, Business IT consultant at recruitment firm Hudson, said that both contract and permanent Web developers are enjoying annual premiums.

He told CUK:"In percentage terms, an average increase is in the range of 15-20% for a strong web developer with real systems skills combined with creative ability.

"Companies are investing more money in Web-based initiatives and as such the market is seeing a 'mini-boom' with high demand for the top talent.

"We have seen the market fluctuate significantly surrounding demand for web skills over the past couple of years, but this mini-boom could be with us for some period to come."


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