Demand for IT Talent Grows as Budgets Remain Flat

CIOs will have to do a better job of finding, developing and managing talent–even if it means paying more or introducing new perks.

The lingering effects of the Great Recession have been both a blessing and a curse to CIOs. On one hand, a wheezing economy has made it a lot easier to hold down wages and, in some cases, get IT talent for less. On the other hand, the environment has put a lid on budgets and made it extraordinarily difficult to accomplish everything on the enterprise to-do list.

Now both tasks are about to become more challenging. A new report from online recruiting site Dice points out that 61 percent of technology professionals earned higher salaries in 2014. That translated to $89,450 on average. In addition, 37 percent of tech pros received a bonus in 2014, up 3 percent from the previous year. The average bonus in 2014 was $9,538, up 2 percent year-over-year.

However, while wages and bonuses are creeping upward, so too are job dissatisfaction levels, according to Dice. Just over one-half (52 percent) of IT professionals were satisfied with their compensation in 2014, down from 54 percent in 2013.

Clearly, demand for IT professionals–particularly those with highly coveted skills in areas such as PaaS, Cassandra, Cloudera and Hadoop–has never been greater. Various industry studies indicate that around 90 percent of businesses face steep challenges filling critical IT positions. Yet, ironically, another recent study conducted by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas found that the number of planned workforce reductions in the tech sector has reached the highest level since 2009–even while overall job cuts declined to the lowest level since 1997.

Even without a crystal ball, it's safe to say that a couple of things are likely to occur over the coming months. First, due to both an actual shortage of talent and rising dissatisfaction levels, wages will almost certainly rise. Dice found that two-thirds of IT professionals are more confident than ever in their ability to make more money or find a favorable new position. In fact, 37 percent anticipate changing employers for better pay or better conditions. Second, and perhaps more importantly, CIOs will have to do a much better job of finding, developing and managing talent–even if it means paying more, creating better working conditions or introducing new perks.

Business as usual won't get the job done.

This article was originally published on 01-23-2015
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