Results from Computerworld’s recent jobs survey and the Q3 results from the Yoh Index of Technology Wages are a must-read for anyone in the IT industry. The surveys show some common trends, in both salary and hiring data.
Armed with this information, how can employees get the jobs they want and employers get the workers they want? Here are some action items for both camps.
Consultants can cash in. Computerworld found that salaries increased 3.7% across the board this year for permanent staffers. Consultants fared even better, as wages rose an average of 5.5% for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, compared with the same period last year, according to the Q3 2007 Yoh Index of Technology Wages. Rising rates for both permanent employees and consultants indicate strong demand and short supply, signaling good hiring prospects for IT workers.
If you find you’re not happy with your earnings, consider your options. Look into becoming a consultant — the work is out there, and the pay is better. Or, talk to your manager about getting that raise you deserve. It’s important for you to establish your value proposition to the company. By ensuring that you’re achieving the tasks assigned to you, you can continue to highlight the reasons you’re important and indispensable to your employer.
Reach for the right skills. Application development is the most sought-after discipline and is also where the industry is experiencing the greatest shortage in talent, according to Computerworld’s research. This lines up with the Yoh Index, which finds that demand is strongest for Java and .Net skills. However, if waiting for bits to compile isn’t your cup of tea (or bottle of Jolt), fret not. The Yoh Index finds equally strong demand for SAP functional and technical gurus, business intelligence experts and project managers.
Ensure that your skill certifications are up to date. Not only will this make you a desirable candidate for hire during a job search, but after you’re hired, enhancing your skills can give you added leverage in asking for that raise. Ensuring that you have the right certifications can help build your career profile, not only in your own company, but also throughout the industry, and it can help you to develop future business relationships.
Flex those hiring muscles. Forty-two percent of Computerworld’s respondents cited difficulty recruiting workers as a top hiring concern. If you’re concerned about finding top talent, broaden definitions about company needs, job roles, functions and the attributes of your ideal candidate. The narrower your definitions, the harder it is to find a fit.
Instead, look for complementary experience, and provide the necessary training to get people up to speed after they’re hired. Smart IT people learn fast — and the chance to obtain new certifications can be leveraged as a perk to attract more applicants.
Also, investigate partnering with a staffing agency. The best agencies have a deep roster of talented contractors who can fill gaps in the short term while you work to fill positions for the long term.
Give your budget a reality check. The majority of Computerworld’s respondents (53%) said that tight hiring budgets were their biggest concern. But with the talent pool tight, in-demand skills (Java, .Net and SAP NetWeaver expertise in particular, according to the Yoh Index) will cost a premium.
This is also an area where partnering with a national recruiting firm can help. It will have a nationwide talent database on tap and will often find the right skills at the right salary, right away. A recruiter can also help you plan your budgets for the next year by providing you with the most updated data on wages, talent demand and potential growth. The Yoh Index of Technology Wages can provide additional insight in this area as well.
(Jim Lanzalotto is vice president of strategy and marketing at Yoh , a unit of Day & Zimmermann.)