Are IT jobs defying gravity as overall U.S. employment figures continue to tank? Latest monthly employment figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and a recent IT pay trends study by research firm Foote Partners sheds some insight into what IT skills remain hot in an ice-cold jobs climate.
According to the BLS, the U.S. added 11,000 management and technical consulting services jobs in January. That follows 9,000 management and consulting services jobs that were also added in October and November. In between, December showed a slight dip in those jobs. Still the figures are pretty promising for tech pros, considering that close to 600,000 non-farm jobs were lost in the U.S. in January alone, according to the BLS.
Not everyone is surprised by the IT job sector's relative spunk. David Foote, CEO of research firm Foote Partners, has been meticulously monitoring IT skill and pay trend data for more than a decade. What his firm found in its most recent IT pay trends study seems to reflect what the latest BLS figures are showing.
Certainly not all IT pros are seeing their pay grow, said Foote. For instance, Foote's report indicates that pay premiums -- and demand -- for Web developers -- has slipped in recent months. But folks with other certain specific IT skills sets -- certified and non-certified -- have been getting pay perks despite these rocky economic times.
As companies look to cut costs, automation (including software automation) and business process improvements have been a focus, said Foote in an interview with InformationWeek. That trends seems to show in the upswing of "premium pay" (the extra boost in paychecks either as part of base pay or as a bonus) that Foote has been seeing over the last three to 12 months in non-certified management/methodology/process skills, which are all important in improving and standardizing processes.
IT pros with those related skills have seen average pay premiums rise 5.6% over the last three months. On average, IT professionals having those skills saw an average extra reward of 10.3% (as a percentage of base pay) in their paychecks for having that expertise.
Other hot skill categories seeing pay spikes despite the recession are IT architects and project managers with various certifications. "Architecture's key to running a good solid business, and there aren't enough architecture skills out there," said Foote. "Companies are making improvements, investing in their architecture both for the short and long term," he said.
So apparently, smart companies are also looking for smart IT people with key expertise, despite what's going on in the economy -- or perhaps because of it. Is your organization one of those smart companies? Are you one of those smart people?
(Speaking of smart companies, each year InformationWeek honors the nation's 500 most innovative users of business technology. Companies with $250 million or more in revenue are invited to apply for the 2009 InformationWeek 500.)
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