IT job advertising shot up by 8.38 per cent in July to report its first growth since May 2008, according to the most recent results from the Olivier Job Index.
The sudden leap makes IT the fastest growing industry by percentage, which bucks the trend it established in recent months of performing below the national average.
By contrast, overall job advertisements declined by 0.41 per cent.
Olivier Group director, Robert Olivier, said the results had taken him by surprise.
“My feeling was that with business investment down, while people may be willing to hire, they would be saying essential roles and things like IT have to wait but apparently not,” he said.
Although Olivier felt the rise was sudden and unexpected, he believes it shouldn’t be dismissed as a random spike.
He said while some job spikes could be explained away by individual employers, the IT market employed too many people for that to be the case.
“This is the most encouraging figure that I’ve seen for the IT sector in probably a year,” he said.
Within the IT sector, software development and engineering vacancies leapt the highest leading to job ad growth of 10.5 per cent.
Internet graphics and multimedia was up 10.2 per cent while management and sales positions went up 2.9 per cent.
But it isn’t all good news. Network communications and security jobs were down 3.6 per cent. Desktop support and help desk jobs fell 8.9 per cent on the month and 74 per cent on the year.
Olivier said these job losses were part of a broader trend to outsource more positions abroad and slash excess staff.
“Sometimes what these things do [economic crisis] is force the pace of change. So, yes, it's something that was going to happen, but whilst you’re trading okay you tend to let those things carry on.
“But when you’re then forced into a situation where you’re forced to make those cuts and make those changes it’s a catalyst for that. Also the graduate market is weaker,” he said.
Olivier cautioned against excess optimism, warning that several more months of positive growth would be needed before it could be seen as a recovery.
“I think we’re going to return to a normal positive number between 0 and 5 per cent,” he said.