Demand for highly skilled temporary IT workers increased in the first quarter of 2011, according to staffing firm Yoh, as companies seek contractors to complete IT projects while keeping their labor costs in check. This is the second consecutive quarter that's shown increased demand for contract IT staff.Corporations' growing need for temporary IT workers is having a positive impact on their pay. Yoh's research also indicates that wages for contract IT staff are beginning to creep up.\u00a0\u00a0 "First quarter results confirmed our Q4 report that the bottom may have been reached [for IT pay], and wages for this vital component of the American employment market are strengthening, ever so slightly, as industry stabilizes and American employers search for ways to post gains in a recovering economy," said Yoh President Lori Schutlz in a press release. Yoh notes that application development projects, corporate interest in cloud computing, and ERP initiatives are fueling companies' requirements for temporary tech workers. Consequently, application developers and IT professionals with ERP and cloud expertise are best positioned to capitalize off of these wage and employment trends. "Cloud computing and web application development are for real, as seen in increased demand for these technicians across the country," said Schultz in the statement. "While far from frothy, the demand in these areas is one factor that is stabilizing falling wages and providing for more consistent future employment markets." IT professionals with ERP experience are sought after because many enterprises remain reluctant to move higher risk, back office systems to the cloud, notes Yoh. Increased merger and acquisition activity is another factor stimulating demand for temporary tech workers, according to the staffing company. Organizations that may be targets for mergers or acquisitions often seek out temporary staffing help because it allows them to move projects forward without adding long-term employment obligations to their bottom line, Yoh notes. Such temporary staffing strategies are key because lower labor costs make the target company attractive to buyers, yet if a deal doesn't materialize, the target company has been able to keep key projects moving forward, adds Yoh.Interestingly, the heating up of the contract IT labor market is causing some IT professionals to rethink their careers. "For the first time in years, we are seeing a willingness of some full-time employees to shift to the temporary market as a strategy to improve career and income prospects," Schultz noted in the press release. "As other workers see this success, it is likely to begin a domino effect of wage acceleration." Have you given up a full-time IT job to strike out on your own? If so, e-mail me at mlevinsonatciodotcom. I'd like to hear your story.