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More IT Jobs -- But Not Too Fast
[July 25, 2005]

More IT Jobs -- But Not Too Fast

Gartner finds IT jobs will increase, but at a "moderate" pace.

By DAVID SIMS
TMCnet CRM Alert Columnist

Employment opportunities in information technology are increasing in 2005 -- this reporter can't envision a world outside of a Stephen King novel where IT jobs will decrease -- however, employers overall say the pace of IT workforce expansion will be "moderate" for the next 12 months, according to research by Gartner, Inc.

The 2005 IT Market Compensation study is a product of Gartner, Inc.'s Executive Program unit.

According to the survey, the financial services sector will be most active in IT recruiting with 63 percent of those companies projecting some level of increase in IT headcount. And they're not just filling empty spaces, they're expanding -- among financial services firms surveyed, 22.2 percent anticipate an IT staff increase of more than 10 percent.


The public, non-profit market is the second most active sector, with 62 percent of companies projecting headcount increases. Overall, 66 percent of organizations surveyed by Gartner EXP project some level of increase in IT staffing, counting both full-time employees and contractors.

Their findings jive with studies of the job market overall. Earlier this year CNN/Money reported that "hiring is expected to increase 20 percent overall for those graduates with associates, bachelor's and master's degrees," according to a survey by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University.

11 percent of the nearly 600 employers, mostly in retail, finance, manufacturing and professional services, who responded to the survey rated the labor market "very good" or "excellent," which is a five percent increase over last year's figure.

More encouraging, only 38 percent rated the overall job market as "poor" or "fair" -- last year 64 percent thought opportunities were "poor" or "fair."

Companies with 4,500 or more employees will be doing most of the hiring, according to the MSU study, which found the "strongest labor markets are expected to be in transportation, retail, wholesale, professional services, accommodation and entertainment and health."

Specific IT hiring studies are finding the same rosy prospects for IT. 14 percent of chief information officers interviewed for the " Robert Half Technology Information Technology Hiring Index and Skills Report" released last month "plan to add full-time information technology staff in the third quarter."

Half found a net 11 percent hiring increase, "the largest net increase in hiring activity in12 quarters."

The Half study found "business expansion" was cited by 38 percent of respondents as the leading factor driving IT hiring, followed by demand for increased customer and end-user support at 21 percent.

The findings in EXP's "2005 IT Market Compensation Study" are based on research compiled from survey data submitted by 160 organizations as of March 1, 2005. The study includes detailed compensation data for 48,586 IT employees within the United States.

Lily Mok, senior consultant with Gartner EXP articulated the fact that strong job markets are generally downers for companies. "Although the improved job market presents more promising opportunities to IT job seekers, it may also force IT and human resources leaders to respond to increasing IT staff turnover in their companies… total IT voluntary turnover was higher in the 2005 survey than last year. This may imply that as the IT employment market improves further, IT professionals will consider leaving their current jobs for better opportunities."

In other words, the study found, "the factors that attract IT professionals to join a company may not be the same as those that keep them satisfied on the job." IT professionals, as opposed to college grads looking for their first job, are "attracted to companies by company reputation, followed by pay and work environment."

The most difficult-to-hire positions for IT organizations? Project manager, web applications programmer, security analyst, database administrator and network engineer, the study found: "The increased search for project managers, for instance, suggests that companies are starting to focus on more effectively managing and prioritizing projects that can deliver a competitive advantage for the business.

And congratulations if you're a whiz in PeopleSoft, J2EE Microsoft.Net, Java, Oracle, Visual C#.Net, SAP, XML and XML Web Services, since those were rated the skills that IT organizations have the greatest difficulty recruiting.

Gartner Executive Programs is a membership-based organization of more than 3,000 CIOs worldwide.

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David Sims is contributing editor for TMCnet. For more articles by David Sims, please visit:

http://www.tmcnet.com/tmcnet/columnists/columnist.aspx?id=100005&nm=David%20Sims

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