Who's in demand? The IT pros employers need to hire in 2015

Skilled IT professionals have been in hot demand throughout 2014 and all the signs are this trend will continue into next year. With UK organisations investing in their IT infrastructures and looking to add capacity in their teams, technology recruitment remains both on the agenda and on an upward curve.

Hiring within the sector is forecast to grow at nearly five times the pace of the overall jobs market, which is great news for professionals targeting career advancement. Owing to the shortage of people with niche technology skills, the best candidates are finding themselves with multiple offers and counteroffers. This means only one thing: fast-rising technology salaries and plenty of scope for career progress.

Employers are willing to pay a premium for skilled people - either to attract them from rival organisations, or retain the valued workers they already have. As such, professionals may be able to increase their earnings by applying for a new role with a different employer, or by negotiating a pay rise with their existing organisation.

IT upgrades are the most common initiative prompting increased headcount levels at present. Employers are hiring on both a contract and a permanent basis to support their projects; meaning technology professionals have various options. Typical projects include business intelligence, mobile solutions, application development, information risk and security and virtualisation initiatives; with skills and experience required in each area.

Opportunities at senior level

Employers are looking for new staff at various levels, including in the boardroom. As teams expand, new decision-making roles are being created, giving talented professionals the chance to move up the ladder. Organisations are also looking for new department heads to replace those moving to other firms, in what is a fluid jobs market.

Salaries for chief information officers are predicted to increase by 4.0 per cent in 2015, to between £124,750 and £239,750 as a national average. Chief technology officers should also command higher wages: £82,250-£156,500 (up by 3.8 per cent). Robert Half expects average chief architects to earn between £119,250 and £149,750 (up by 3.6 per cent), while IT directors should command £91,500-£125,750 (up by 3.5 per cent). Professionals working as an IT manager or the head of IT are likely to earn between £79,750 and £112,000 as a national average, up by 3.4 per cent on 2014. In London, wages are likely to be around a third higher than the national average.

Analysts are in demand

As organisations collect ever-greater volumes of data, they need people capable of managing and interpreting this information and then contributing to strategic decision making. As such, both functional and technical analysts are set to be in demand during 2015 - meaning there will be upward pressure of wages for such professionals.

Senior business analysts are expected to command between £44,750 and £54,250 (up by 3.1 per cent), while business analysts should take home between £33,750 and £50,500 (up by 3.7 per cent). The average data analyst - London excepted - should earn between £32,250 and £43,250 (up by 3.4 per cent), while business intelligence analysts are expected to claim £46,500-£59,500 (up by 4.2 per cent).

Security hires needed

Business leaders are well aware of the security risks faced by their organisations, ever more so as the cloud and hosted technologies becomes integral to their operations. Firms are spending more and more trying to shore up their systems and protect sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands, conscious of the catastrophic impact breaches can have on their business.

As such, salaries for chief information security officers are expected to rise by 5.7 per cent to between £97,500 and £145,250, while information security managers should command £72,500-£95,750 (up by 4.5 per cent). Average wages for information security officers are predicted to increase by 4.0 per cent to £57,750-£67,250, while security network engineers should earn £32,500-£48,750 (up by 4.2 per cent).

Architecture and development staff

A shortage of architecture and development professionals means organisations are willing to pay a premium for people with the skills and experience they need. Salary inflation of 3.6 per cent is expected for enterprise architects (to £60,750-£91,250), along with 2.7 per cent for technical architects (£92,000-£99,500), 4.4 per cent for infrastructure architects (£56,750-£73,500), 5.5 per cent for data architects (£58,500-£76,750) and 4.2 per cent for solution architects (£57,250-£78,500).

Development managers are predicted to earn between £53,000 and £99,250 as a national average - up by 4.5 per cent on last year - while lead developers should claim £48,500-£80,750 (up by 4.2 per cent). The expected salary for software developers is £31,250 to £72,000 (up by 5.4 per cent), while database/business intelligence developers should earn between £40,500 and £67,750 (up by 4.6 per cent).

For more information on average wages and salary inflation within the technology sector, consult the Robert Half Salary Guide.