IT professionals should "bed down" in their jobs due to continuing uncertainty in the economy, according to the government-licensed IT skills organisation e-skills.
While demand for IT professionals has fallen in the past quarter, the number of IT professionals in employment has increased in that period, according to the e-skills Bulletin for Q1 2009, released on Thursday.
The report said: "So, where does this leave us all? Uncertain, would be the honest answer."
The bulletin recommended IT professionals "bed down" in any current employment they have, due to the current economic uncertainty. IT professionals not in work were advised to bear in mind that jobs are being advertised in the areas of systems development, IT and telecoms management, programming and systems design.
Technology skills that are "crunch resistant" include WAP, COM, Active X and Sage, said e-skills. The top 10 skills demanded by recruiters were SQL, C, C#, .NET, SQL SVR, Java, Oracle, ASP, C++ and Unix, said the bulletin.
According to e-skills, on one hand the IT recruitment market is "going over the edge of a cliff", while on the other, the Office of National Statistics suggests there is a growing number of ICT staff in employment, and a relatively small number of ICT staff going through redundancy.
The IT industry itself has had similarly mixed fortunes, according to e-skills. Although there was a drop in general business confidence during the final quarter of 2008, and a substantial increase in the number of company liquidations, the IT industry appears to be robust.
E-skills pointed to "fairly impressive" increases in IT sector turnover and trade performance when compared with the previous quarter. Moreover, e-skills said increases in hardware and software spending among the wider business community have put IT investment at its highest level since Q1 2008.
An e-skills spokesperson told silicon.com sister site ZDNet UK that IT professionals were finding jobs by means other than recruiters.
"It appears that people are still looking for work but there are limited opportunities based on adverts," said the spokesperson. "Many job vacancies are not advertised, and people are staying in jobs for longer."
E-skills warned in March that the IT jobs market had slowed year-on-year.