High on managers list of candidates to fill those positions are those who combine technical expertise with an understanding of business issues. According to an October 2006 PriceWaterhouseCoopers report on talent management , The battle for talent is about to become even fiercer as companies search for the hybrid employee: workers who excel at collaboration, innovation and managing change.
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That trend towards hybrid employees is reflected in Vediors list of Hot IT Jobs for 2007. The list highlights positions which require both business acumen and technical know-how, including project manager, business analyst, program manager, and change management specialist.
IT Salaries on the RiseSlightly The experts agree that IT workers in all areas should expect slight pay increases this year. As the competition for top-notch employees heats up, companies are both improving pay for new hires and offering salary increases and other incentives to keep current employees from bolting.
According to the Robert Half Technology 2007 Salary Guide, starting salaries for all IT workers will increase an average of 2.8 percent this year. Salary.com takes a more optimistic view, anticipating 4 to 5 percent salary increases for technology workers.
If the Salary Guide is proved correct, workers pay may just barely outpace inflation. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphias Survey of Professional Forecasters predicts CPI inflation will average 2.6 percent in 2007 (up slightly from 2.4 percent in 2006). That means a 2.8 percent pay raise will leave the average IT workers salary basically flat in terms of real buying power.
Fortunately, some IT workers will likely receive more than a 2.8 percent salary hike. Robert Half Technology believes software developers will see the greatest gainsa 5.1 percent raise in base compensationputting averaging base pay between $60,250 and $94,750 annually. Other top gainers include:
Web developers (average 4.2 percent increase)
Data warehouse managers (average 4.2 percent increase)
Project managers (average 4.1 percent increase)
Quality assurance analysts (average 4.1 percent increase)
Applications architects (average 4.0 percent increase).
By contrast, entry level support desk technicians can expect just a 0.8 percent wage increaseor a whopping $250.
In addition to working hard to fill new positions, employers are increasingly focusing on retaining and developing their current workforce. Careerbuilder.com notes that 81 percent of companies surveyed planned to raise current workers salaries, with 20 percent raising salaries 5 percent or more. Businesses are also offering more flexible work schedules, providing better training, and offering more promotions in order to convince current workers to stay put.
And PriceWaterhouseCoopers finds that companies are working harder to recruit from within, with a third of IT companies focusing extensively on personnel development and training.
According to Brendan Courtney, senior vice president at corporate recruiter Spherion, IT workers are still being enticed to stay with their current employers through a series of retention efforts, which may explain why even more of them are confident in their own job security.
And international staffing firm Vedior summarizes the IT career outlook for 2007 this way: The hunt for qualified employees is fierce. The demand for high quality, trained workers is increasing competition and driving up salaries, giving workers the upper hand when negotiating with employers.