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March 4, 2005
3 Min Read
When it comes to the future of IT careers, the fact that salaries in North America and Europe rose last year after a three-year slump is far from the only lesson to take away from a Foote Partners report last week. More important might be recognizing how complex IT career paths have become, as evidenced by the increasing number of "hybrid jobs" that combine IT and operations responsibilities.
The career complexity comes as people start with a foundation of technical knowledge and add deep business and industry knowledge that moves them away from being extreme IT specialists and into that fuzzy area that blends IT and operations. "Our research indicates this has been occurring in the banking/financial-services, insurance, telecommunications, and utilities industries where operations and technology have had a close relationship historically, but now we're seeing it elsewhere," says David Foote, president and chief research officer at the research firm.
Last year, median average pay increased 1% for 88 noncertified skills and nearly 4% for 62 certified skills, according to the Foote Partners study. Other factors driving up IT pay include increased competition for talent, concerns about staff retention, mixed success with outsourcing, and an increasing number of government regulations that require IT to help with compliance.
--Chris Murphy and Marianne Kolbasuk McGee ...But Optimism Wanes When It Comes To Job Confidence
Tech workers' confidence was down in February as fears of job losses and slower hiring grew, according to Hudson, a professional staffing and outsourcing unit of Hudson Highland Group Inc. But IT folks had plenty of company: Across all industries, Hudson's national job-confidence index slid significantly, though not as steeply as it did among IT pros.
Using a base score of 100, Hudson found that IT-worker confidence sank 12.5 points to 103 last month from 115.5 in January. For all industries, the index slid 5 points, to 102, its lowest level in 12 months. Hudson has conducted monthly phone interviews since January 2004 with about 9,000 workers in a number of industries, including more than 350 IT workers.
The lowest job-confidence score among IT workers was in May, when the rating hit 101.2. IT optimism, which had several ups and downs in 2004, hit its highest level last October with a 120.8 rating.
--Marianne Kolbasuk McGee
...And RFID Experts Are On A Roll
Eighty percent of tech manufacturers and service companies see a shortage of talent to implement, service, and support radio-frequency identification technology, according to a Web survey conducted last month by the Computing Technology Industry Association.
Two-thirds of the 51 association members participating in the survey say training and educating employees in RFID technology is one of the biggest challenges they face. Adoption remains "relatively modest," with about 71% saying their customers haven't implemented RFID. Similarly, 80% say they haven't gone past investigating the technology, and just 16% have implemented one or more pilot projects for themselves or their customers.
Even though respondents say there's a shortage of talent in RFID technology, 37% say their companies will offer RFID products and services within the next three years, and 39% say they'd consider doing so if there's interest from their customers. In other findings, 82% of the surveyed companies expect to offer RFID hardware installation and maintenance services, 62% plan to offer software implementations, and 51% other services.
Respondents to the CompTIA survey included value-added resellers and system providers (33%), consultants and systems integrators (22%), and manufacturers (20%). Two-thirds have annual revenue of up to $25 million, while 22% have annual revenue of $100 million or more.
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