Resellers have criticised research that claims 3,600 jobs could be lost in the channel as the drive towards increased productivity leads to fewer employees taking on a heavier workload.
A survey of 377 resellers and distributors by financial analyst Plimsoll Publishing suggested the companies that are the least efficient may end up axing jobs in the next 12 months.
However, channel players disagreed, claiming economic stabilisation and new opportunities are increasing recruitment levels.
David Patterson, senior analyst at Plimsoll, said: "There was reasonable evidence that firms that paid more and had fewer employees were more successful."
The research found 17 per cent of firms delivered almost twice the average sales, which stood at £196,000, and over twice the average profit per employee, while 14 per cent generated as little as £93,000 of sales per employee.
But Paul Barlow, commercial director at VAR Equanet, said: "This process has been going on for some time. We have no intention of reducing resources and are looking to recruit more people."
And Ian Kilpatrick, group managing director of distributor Wick Hill, said: "I think the findings are, in part, based on a lack of growth in some areas of the market. It could quite possibly be true for some, but we are hiring now on the basis of growth."
Patterson said the firms performing badly had overestimated demand in areas such as added service and support resources.
But Barlow and Kilpatrick argued that responding to customer demand for high-margin support services on top of emerging technologies will lead to a stable and higher-skilled UK IT reseller and distribution employee base.
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