Study: Demand strong for workers with Internet skills

Need continues for Java application management experience

June 14, 2004—Despite a steady rise in the number of IT jobs being outsourced, demand for workers with Internet-related skills such as Java and networking is helping to drive IT compensation higher, according to a report released by Meta Group.

According to the 2004 IT Staffing and Compensation Guide, which is based on surveys of more than 650 large and midsize companies, 45 percent of the companies surveyed plan to pay premiums for IT skills that are difficult to find or retain. Skill shortages are most acute in highly specialized areas such as wireless computing and information security, according to the Stamford, Conn.-based market research and consulting firm.

Nevertheless, 72 percent of the respondents said poor morale among IT workers—much of it fueled by budget and staff cuts—is a big problem in their organizations. To try and improve morale, 45 percent of the respondents said they have employee recognition programs in place, while 40 percent offer training and other skill-development opportunities.

The growing demand for certain types of IT skills is leading companies to generally pay IT workers more than their nontechnical peers. This year, 76 percent of the survey respondents said they plan to pay IT workers more than other workers, about the same as last year.

Fifteen percent of the survey respondents cited a continuing need for Internet-related skills such as application development and Java application management, while 11 percent said networking skills are highly sought after. However, demand for ecommerce skills continues to ease, with only 15 percent of the respondents indicating a strong need for those capabilities, down from 22 percent who said that last year and 25 percent who cited a demand for ecommerce skills in 2002.

Twenty percent of the Meta Group survey respondents are involved in offshore outsourcing, while 40 percent of this group said that 5 percent or less of their IT workforce is deployed offshore.

Although 81 percent of survey respondents have added IT staff this year, hiring is far from robust and there's no net gain in the number of new IT workers, Meta Group said.

Thomas Hoffman writes for Computerworld.

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