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Tech Worker Surveys Show Happy Days Are Here Again

Salaries are rising, jobs are secure, personal finances are solid, and skills in Web services, ERP, .Net, and Java are as hot as the weather outside.

Tech professionals are more confident about their jobs right now than workers in other segments, according to two new reports.

Technology workers were more optimistic in July than they've been at any other time this year, according to Hudson, a professional staffing and outsourcing services firm that conducts monthly phone surveys of 9,000 workers in several industries, including more than 400 IT and telecom workers.

Compared to a base score of 100, job optimism among techies climbed 4.3 points to 112.5 in July. Tech pros were also more upbeat in July than the same month a year ago, which saw a confidence rating of 109.9.

Workers nationwide across all industries weren't as buoyant. Overall, their confidence levels fell slightly last month--half a point--to 101.9, according to Hudson.

"It's hot out there right now for tech pros," says Kevin Knaul, a Hudson VP.

Fueling the confidence of tech pros is heavy demand by employers. "There is definitely more demand than supply right now," he says. "It's a struggle to keep up."

Especially hot are those with skills in Web services, .Net, Java, and ERP. "All the major ERP vendors are updating their products this year," driving the need for those pros, says Knaul.

Boosting tech worker confidence was optimism about personal finances--despite rising summer fuel costs--as well as a high level of job satisfaction.

The number of employees who rated their finances as excellent or good rose 4 points in July to 56%. There was also a 7 point increase to 49% in the number of workers who indicated their financial situation was improving.

Seventy-four percent of tech workers said they were happy with their jobs in July, up from 71% in June.

Job satisfaction could be a big reason why many tech pros aren't looking for a new job, despite their increasing confidence about being able to find one. Only 39% of IT workers in the second quarter this year said they were looking for a new job, compared to 48% who were looking in the first quarter, according to a new report released today by staffing firm Spherion.

The Spherion IT Employee Confidence Index was 58.4 for the second quarter of 2006, up 1.3 points from the previous quarter, according to that survey of 9,000 workers, including nearly 700 IT professionals. During the same period, the U.S. Index decreased 0.7 points to 57.6, says Spherion.

Pay could also be a factor in high job satisfaction among tech workers right now, says Hudson's Knaul. "Pay rates are going up," he says. Professionals with Web services, Java, and ERP skills have seen pay climb 7% to 10% so far this year, he says.

In fact, more than half of tech professionals--or 51%--in the United States and Canada are receiving hot-skills pay as part of their compensation, according to a new report also released this week by Foote Partners LLC, a research firm that closely tracks IT skills and pay trends.

While many companies eliminated hot-skills cash bonuses during the economic downturn a few years ago, many employers are now incorporating into base salaries additional pay for IT certifications and noncertified skills, according to Foote's Hot Technical Skills and Certification Pay Index, which examines pay trends for more than 54,000 tech workers in the United States and Canada.

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