IT Worker Shortage Continues: Page 2

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Despite the increased shortage, companies are more optimistic now than they were in 1999 about the availability of qualified IT staff. In 2001, 51 percent of CIOs say the availability of qualified candidates for computer service and support jobs will improve greatly or slightly in the next two years, compared with 43 percent who responded similarly in the 1999 survey.

The research also found that companies are using less expensive recruitment methods to identify IT candidates. CIOs are more likely to use national advertising (23 percent in 2001 vs. 11 percent in 1999), local advertising (67 percent vs. 58 percent), and Internet job banks (38 percent vs. 21 percent). Companies are less likely to train their own staff (65 percent in 2001 vs. 75 percent in 1999) or increase salaries (50 percent vs. 55 percent) to fill IT positions.

Not only are there available IT positions, but Computerworld's 15th Annual Salary Survey found that base salaries for IT professionals continued to grow faster than those paid to the average American worker.

The survey of IT executives uncovered a steady 6 percent increase over 2000 in the salaries of IT professionals ranging from senior management to entry-level positions. Although this represents a moderate pay hike, it is greater than the 4 percent wage growth typically received by the average American worker. The bad news is that, despite salary increases, 80 percent of IT managers are eschewing quarterly and biannual salary reviews in the face of the economic downturn and are returning strictly to annual reviews. Half of the companies surveyed reported that they have frozen signing bonuses and stock options at previous levels, while 20 percent have eliminated such perks altogether.

How have these belt-tightening times affected the technology issues IT professionals face? Gartner asked IT professionals to name their top five technology issues in preparation for the upcoming Gartner Symposium/ITxpo. According to the survey, technology purchasing decision makers were most concerned about the following issues: customer relationship management (CRM); disaster recovery and business continuity; mobile and wireless technology; security and privacy issues; and Web services.

But rather than looking at the top five as different issues, Gartner found a convergence of the five issues. For example, managers ranked virtual private networks and secure mobile users as key issues within mobile and wireless technology. Similarly, managers ranked m-commerce business scenarios as a key issue within CRM; disaster recovery and business continuity as a key issue within Web services.

Past high-ranking issues such as enterprise resource planning, supply chain management and B2B e-marketplaces, were not ranked as highly this fall's survey.

This article was first published on CyberAtlas, an internet.com site.

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