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Meta: IT Salaries Set to Jump 10-15% By 2007

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IT salaries should increase by as much 10 percent to 15 percent over the

next three years, according to a new study.

The META Group, a Stamford, Conn.-based industry research group, just

released a report stating that analysts there also note that these

predicted salary increases could drive up labor costs to the point that

they will represent 55 percent of an organization’s IT budget.

”In this recession, IT people have tended to fair better than other

kinds of staff out there,” says Maria Schafer, senior program director

with the META Group. ”And the picture going forward is looking even

better for IT… If you’ve got the right skills, you will be seeing

things perk up. If you don’t have those skills, you better get them.”

After interviewing IT executives, Schafer says they specifically are

looking for high-tech workers with training and experience in program

management, application development and networking. Schafer adds that to

her surprise security skills came in further down the list of


”When we ask people this question, the skills that come up are

application development, Internet skills and Java. Linux didn’t come up

this year as a separate skill, but it’s still in demand… It’s a shift

from a couple of years ago, when companies gave us a list of specific

platforms or tools that they needed. Now they’re expressing their needs

in broader terms.”

According to Meta’s 2004 IT Staffing and Compensation Guide, 24

percent of those surveyed say application developers are the most

difficult IT workers to retain. Another 13 percent say employees who

specialize in security have a high turnover, and yet another 13 percent

point to workers in networking jobs.

The stats pertaining to application development are particularly

surprising considering the number of those jobs that are being

outsourced and offshored to save company’s money. Outsourcing is picking

up in practice and general acceptance and some of the first jobs to go

are those in call centers and those in application development. Many

analysts have been loudly warning workers that they need to acquire new

skills if application development is all they have on their resumes.

Schafer says not so.

”I think the outsourcing issue has gotten a huge amount of attention,

but the reality is that it’s a difficult thing to do and to do well,”

she says. ”Clearly, outsourcing has begun to happen and it will

increase over time. But fewer companies are doing that than most people

believe or that the mass media would have you think.”

The Grass is Greener

Schafer says IT salaries will grow simply because the economy is

expected to improve in the next 12 months and with IT jobs opening up

again, workers will have the chance to leave their old jobs for greener

pastures. That means CIOs and other executives will have to fork out a

little extra cash to keep IT workers happy and in place.

”The ‘grass is greener’ mentality must be dealt with head-on,” says

Schafer. ”CIOs must begin to work more closely with human resource

professionals to implement strategies that address human capital

management trends and innovative retention programs — an area in which

IT has historically been reactive rather than proactive.”

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