Survey: Project Managers in High Demand, Short Supply

By Deborah Perelman  |  Posted 03-12-2007

Do you have the IT skills managers covet? According to a study released March 8 by Forrester Research, recruiters are setting their sights on tech pros with project management, security and architecture skills in 2007, as the more routine aspects of network management and application maintenance continue to be outsourced.

Forrester surveyed 186 IT decision makers in November 2006, asking them about their sourcing approaches for 17 different skills areas in 2007. The survey found that project management remains the biggest skills gap.

Twenty-six percent of IT leaders plan to hire project managers and 59 percent plan to train their current staff in project management in 2007. Little had changed since 2002, when 55 percent of IT leaders identified project management as the missing skill set in their organization.

The reason for the continued emphasis on project management skills is because IT's value to business remains contingent on it's ability to deliver projects which meet business requirements both on time and on budget. IT staff accustomed to more technical roles struggle to transition to project management, CIOs argue, and complain that educational institutions are not putting adequate focus on these skills through coursework.

Security skills were also cited by IT decision makers as something they had a shortage of, with 31 percent intending to hire more this year. CIOs have been forced to raise the profile of security in their overall IT plans, and their hiring reflects this.

IT architects, of both the infrastructure and enterprise variety, were also high on IT managers' wish lists, with one quarter responding that they intended to hire IT architects in 2007. CIOs said that they were searching for professionals who know how to apply architecture frameworks to secure, design and operate infrastructure.

Change management was ranked as a number one training priority this year, with 60 percent of managers devoting resources to it.

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Beyond project management, security, architecture and change management, 19 percent of IT decision makers surveyed expressed that they would hire IT pros with business process skills this year. Risk management (14 percent), packaged application support (13 percent) and legacy programming (11 percent) all came in highly prioritized.

Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed said that they would be increasing their service management training in 2007, due to the rise of ITIL as a means of process improvement.

Fifty-six percent of IT leaders said that training in vendor and sourcing management would be a high priority in 2007, as nearly half of organizations have centralized vendor management functions to manage the large amount of IT work that is performed by outsourcers and contractors.

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