IT workers in the UK enjoyed some of the largest pay rises of any professional group last year.

In one third of firms, IT staff received pay rises of more than 2.5 percent, the Hays UK Salary and Recruiting Trends 2016 report found.

Those working in IT who were best compensated in 2015 were those that Hays classifies as CIOs and IT leaders, followed by those working on “cloud”, project management and security.

Similarly the largest pay rises from 2014 to 2015 went to those working on “cloud” and project management. However, even though developers weren’t the highest paid group, their pay was among the fastest rising in 2015.

While Hays doesn’t delve into which developers are the best paid, a StackOverflow survey of European developers from earlier this year found that developers most in demand are those focusing on Ruby, Objective-C, node.js and C#.

In 2015 the average IT salary rose by 2.8 percent, higher than the national average increase of 2.3 percent identified in the report. However, in spite of the pay rises for IT workers, more than two thirds, 63 percent, plan to change roles in 2016, the survey of more than 1,200 employees and employers found.

Almost one-third, 31 percent, of those planning to move jobs cited pay and a similar proportion, 30 percent, a lack of career opportunities.

There should be greater competition for IT staff next year, with 72 percent of IT employers planning to hire new staff next year to meet an expected increase in demand.

A minority of employers are suffering from a skills shortage, with one third saying they don’t have the talent to achieve business objectives.

“Economic confidence is fuelling optimism within the IT sector as we go into 2016 and staff are reaping the rewards, with many enjoying high salary increases,” said James Milligan, director of Hays Information Technology.

“Firms that cannot offer substantial salaries will find it difficult to attract and retain the most skilled employees and many organisations will be working hard to ensure their appeal goes beyond pay alone.”

One surprising finding, given reports about an IT security skills shortage, is the flat pay for security workers, which Hays’ Milligan says is related to companies’ reliance on temporary staff to fill these roles.

“Security salary growth appears to have halted, however this masks a significant rise in rates paid to freelance IT security professionals and consultancies,” said Milligan.

“Many firms have relied on contractors to solve security issues during a crisis. High profile incidents such as the TalkTalk and Vtech hacks have caused many businesses to re-evaluate their IT security protocols and there are growing calls to invest in permanent security staff.

“We would expect to see salaries for security professionals grow significantly over the next year as employers seek to attract more permanent staff to this vital function and realise higher salaries will be essential to doing so.”